Majority of Russian mercenaries left Libyan town, mayor says
More than 90% of the mercenaries from Russia's Wagner Group which supported putschist General Khalifa Haftar have left the town of Bani Walid in Libya in a big convoy, its mayor said Tuesday.
Salem Alaywan told a local television channel that they headed south.
At least eight military transport planes arrived in East Libya to airlift mercenaries of the Russian Wagner Group out of the country.
The government-led Burkan Al-Ghadab, or Volcano of Rage, Operation, tweeted on Monday that an Antonov An-32 military cargo plane landed at Bani Walid Airport to "resume the transportation of the Wagner mercenaries."
Haftar's forces threatened last week to attack Turkish targets in Libya after receiving eight military planes following heavy losses as a result of a series of successful operations by the Libyan Army.
Accordingly, the Libyan Interior Ministry in the same week stated that the government received information that Russia sent eight fighter jets to the Haftar militia.
Haftar, the leader of illegal armed forces in eastern Libya, who has targeted the government for over a year now, intensified attacks on civilians in May.
Earlier this year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said more than 2,000 Wagner mercenaries were fighting in the war-ravaged country.
Following the ouster of late ruler Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, Libya's government was founded in 2015 under an U.N.-led political agreement.
The government, which has been besieged by Haftar's forces since April 2019, launched Operation Peace Storm on March 26 to counter attacks on the capital Tripoli and other parts of northwest Libya.