The Libyan army on Thursday said it spotted Russian mercenaries inside an elementary school in Sirte, a city southeast of Tripoli.

In a statement, military spokesman Abdul-Hadi Dara said: “We confirm the presence of a group of Russian Wagner mercenaries in the 30th school in the city of Sirte.”

Moreover, Dara said militias loyal to Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar destroyed a conference complex in the same city.

“Pro-Haftar 9th Brigade destroyed and tampered Ouagadougou conference halls in Sirte,” it added.

The Ouagadougou conference halls are one of the most prominent landmarks of Sirte.

Libya has been torn by a civil war since the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Libya’s GNA was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement have failed due to a military offensive by forces loyal to Haftar.

Tripoli has battled Haftar’s militias since April 2019 in a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives.

*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara

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