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Libya army: Russia Wagner mercenaries violate ceasefire

A Libyan man waves his national flag in Benghazi, Libya on 27 February 2015 [ABDULLAH DOMA/AFP/Getty Images]
A Libyan man waves his national flag in Benghazi, Libya on 27 February 2015 [ABDULLAH DOMA/AFP/Getty Images]

The Libyan army announced on Wednesday that it had monitored movements by the Russian Wagner mercenaries west of the city of Sirte, and considered them a "breach of the ceasefire agreement".

According to a statement published on Facebook by the media centre of the Volcano of Anger Operation, several movements of Wagner mercenaries have been monitored during the last hours, including trucks carrying excavators heading to the Thalatheen region west of Sirte.

The statement added that two Wagner mercenary convoys were spotted on the move – the first on the road from the oil-producing city of Brega to Sirte, consisting of eight armed vehicles, four transport vehicles loaded with ammunition and a mobile operations room for controlling drones.

According to the statement, the second envoy, consisting of three buses, two transport vehicles loaded with ammunition and three armed cars for protection, was spotted exiting the city of Ajdabiya to the west.

The Libyan army explained the reasons for these movements, stating: "The Wagner mercenaries are carrying out activities believed to be related to laying a pipeline in a trench to transport oil from the south to the north and from there to ship it by sea… in a dangerous precedent committed by foreign mercenaries to control Libyan oil and seize the country's wealth."

The Libyan army also considered that these movements: "Contradict and violate the Joint Military Committee (JMC) agreement on the ceasefire signed in Geneva at the end of last October under the auspices of the United Nations (UN)."

Since signing the ceasefire agreement between the two parties to the conflict in Libya, on 23 October, 2020, Haftar's militia has breached the agreement several times.

This comes after Jan Kubis, head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), on Monday called on all parties to commit to the ceasefire agreement.

The UN official urged the concerned parties to implement: "United Nations Security Council resolutions, including the withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries."

He also praised the work of the JMC and called on it to: "Continue steady progress and take further steps towards reopening the coastal road." Kubis stressed: "The importance of respecting the road map for all concerned institutions and maintaining efforts to fully implement it."

On Saturday, Kubis affirmed the UN's commitment to supporting the new executive authority in the country.

Libya is recently witnessing a breakthrough, after the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) elected a unified executive authority on 5 February, headed by Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh as prime minister and Mohamed Al-Menfi as president of the Presidential Council, the primary mission of which is to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 December, 2021.

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