A military helicopter that was transporting Russian private military contractors has crashed near al-Jufra Air Base in Libya’s central region, Brig. Gen. Abdul Hadi Dara, a spokesman for the Government of National Accord (GNA) Sirte-Jufra Operations Room, claimed on September 23.
The helicopter, which was also carrying weapons, allegedly crashed near the town of Sawknah, to the southwest of al-Jufra. Several explosions were heard in the region.
Brig. Gen. Dara told the Turkish Anadolu Agency that at least four PMCs of the Wagner Group has lost their lives in the helicopter crash.
“The helicopter was on its way to one of the oil fields used by Russian mercenaries as an operations room,” the spokesman said.
Russian PMCs have been reportedly supporting the Libyan National Army (LNA) operations against GNA forces for more than a year now.
Brig. Gen. Dara’s claims were dismissed by a Telegram channels affiliated with Russian PMCs. The channel said no personnel were killed in the helicopter accident.
— Ouais Hasairi | ⵓⵓⴰⵉⵙ ⵀⴰⵙⴰⵉⵔⵉ | أويس الحصائري (@HasairiOuais) September 23, 2020
According to a recent report by the Pentagon’s Inspector General, around 3,000 PMCs of the so-called Wagner Group are present in Libya along with 2,000 affiliated Syrian PMCs.
GNA forces on the other side are relying a strike force of Turkish-backed Syrian militants. The total number of militants is reportedly between 5,000 and 18,000, hundreds of whom are minors.
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