Russian Wagner mercenaries and the Sudanese Janjaweed militia aligned with putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar continue to dig trenches in Libya's Sirte, the Libyan Army said Wednesday.
The key city of Sirte, which lies some 450 kilometers (280 miles) east of the capital, is currently under the control of Haftar's forces.
The opening of the road connecting the western port city of Misrata and northern Sirte depends on the withdrawal of mercenaries and the removal of mines in the region, the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord’s (GNA) army said Tuesday.
"The Libyan Army forces are still stationed in their positions and are closely monitoring all the movements of armed mercenaries inside the city of Sirte," Abdul-Hadi Daraa, a spokesperson for the Sirte Jufra Liberation Operations Room of the Libyan Army, told Anadolu Agency (AA).
The spokesperson stressed that the agreement reached by the 5+5 Joint Military Commission has not been properly implemented, especially in Sirte, saying that, "The Russian Wagner mercenaries and the Sudanese Janjaweed are still digging trenches in Sirte and are stationed in Jufra and Hun."
"We are committed to the cease-fire and to any agreement provided it is implemented in the correct manner," he added.
On Nov. 3, the Libyan 5+5 Joint Military Commission agreed in Ghadames in southwest Libya to set mechanisms in place to implement a permanent cease-fire reached on Oct. 23.
On Nov. 9, intra-Libyan talks were held in Tunisia under United Nations sponsorship in which the rival parties agreed on a permanent cease-fire. However, the talks were postponed until next week due to a lack of consensus on who will lead the transition process.
Foreign mercenaries and arms have poured into the country since Haftar launched his offensive, with Russia and the UAE the putschist general's top suppliers.
The Russian Wagner Group, which is owned by businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, a figure close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, sent mercenaries to fight in Libya.
Russia had also been trying to recruit fighters from various Arab tribes in the terrorist YPG/PKK-held Hassakeh province to fight in Libya. A similar transfer of some 600 mercenaries from Syria's Homs province took place earlier.
Sudanese armed groups from the Darfur region have been fighting on both sides of Libya’s conflict, according to a report by U.N. experts.
The Janjaweed militias were used by the Sudanese government to suppress the Darfur insurgency, a campaign that drew charges of genocide against its perpetrators including toppled President Omar al-Bashir.
Musa Hilal, a former Janjaweed militia leader and adviser to al-Bashir, was sanctioned by the U.N. Security Council for his involvement in the Darfur conflict. He has been imprisoned in the capital Khartoum since November 2017.
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