The United States has accused the Russians of planting landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Libya.  The U.S. stated that Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group were planting them in support of the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar.

The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), stated that they had verified photographic evidence that Wagner Group mercs “indiscriminately [have] placed booby traps and minefields” from areas outside of Tripoli to Sirte on the eastern coast since mid-June. 

The Wagner Group is a private military company backed by the Russian government.

“These weapons are assessed to have been introduced into Libya by the Wagner Group,” AFRICOM added while displaying photos of both anti-personnel mines and IEDs found in residential neighborhoods in Tripoli.

AFRICOM’s Director of Operations, Marine MG Bradford Gering said that “the Russian-state sponsored Wagner Group is demonstrating a total disregard for the safety and security of Libyans.”

He added, “the Wagner Group’s irresponsible tactics are prolonging the conflict and are responsible for the needless suffering and the deaths of innocent civilians.” 


Rear Adm. Heidi Berg, AFRICOM’s Intelligence Director added that “Imagery and intelligence assessments show how Russia continues to interfere in Libyan affairs. Wagner Group’s reckless use of landmines and booby traps are harming innocent civilians.”

Libya has been wracked by a bloody civil war since longtime dictator Muammar Gadhafi was toppled from power and killed in 2011. The government in east Libya is supported by Russia, Egypt, and U.A.E. and allied with self-styled general Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA). The Government of National Accord (GNA), which is supported by the United Nations, holds territory in the west including the capital Tripoli.