Two children were killed after a mine planted by the Russian Wagner Group near Libya's capital exploded Tuesday, a statement by the unity government said.
The explosion took place in the Ain Zera region, a civilian area where the mercenaries had planted improvised explosives before leaving, the government's Burkan al-Ghadab (Volcano of Rage) Operation press center said.
The children, identified as Maad and Zaida Aburas, died in the explosion, the officials said.
There are still around 7,000 Wagner mercenaries in Libya, according to a statement made by the head of Libya’s High Council of State Khalid Mishri on Dec. 12, 2021.
The lives of civilians are frequently endangered by the mines planted by forces loyal to putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar.
Foreign mercenaries and arms have poured into the country since Haftar launched his offensive, with Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) serving as the putschist general's top suppliers. According to the United Nations, 20,000 foreign forces and/or mercenaries are in Libya.
Oil-rich Libya has been torn by years of violence, drawing in tribal militias, terrorists and mercenaries since the 2011 toppling and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in a Western-backed uprising.
The latest escalation started on April 4, 2019, when warlord Haftar, a former Gadhafi loyalist and onetime CIA asset, attacked Tripoli, the seat of the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
Hundreds died and some 200,000 people were displaced by the onslaught of Haftar forces backed by the UAE, Egypt and Russian mercenary forces.
But then the GNA, with stepped-up support from Turkey, pushed back the would-be invaders and launched a quick counteroffensive that has reclaimed all of northwestern Libya.