WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- More than 2 tons of missing radioactive uranium has been found in southern Libya after it sparked nuclear safety concerns.
- The Libyan National Army (LNA) recovered 10 barrels of uranium, which were abandoned about 3 miles from the storage facility.
- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warned that the missing uranium could pose a nuclear security threat.
The Libyan National Army (LNA) has recovered more than 2 tons of missing radioactive uranium near a warehouse in southern Libya. The disappearance of the uranium had raised nuclear safety concerns, but the LNA spokesperson, Khaled Mahjoub, confirmed that 10 barrels of uranium had been recovered.
However, a video shared by Mahjoub showed workers counting 18 containers, and some of the blue-painted drums in the video displayed what appeared to be batch numbers. The footage did not show the barrels being opened.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog, had reported about 2.5 tons of uranium missing during a check at an unspecified site in the war-torn country on Tuesday.
The IAEA had warned that the missing uranium could pose a nuclear security threat. The agency also stated in a confidential statement to member states that it was aware of media reports that the uranium had been found and was working to verify them.
Mahjoub revealed that the site where the uranium was found was a warehouse near the border with Chad, which the IAEA last visited in 2020 and sealed with red wax. The barrels were discovered abandoned about 3 miles from the storage facility.
He speculated that a group of separatist fighters from Chad had raided the warehouse and stolen the barrels, hoping they might contain weapons or ammunition, but had subsequently ditched them.
Control of the country is split between the internationally recognized government in the capital, Tripoli, headed by Chairman of the Presidential Council of the State of Libya Mohamed al-Menfi, and the House of Representatives in the eastern city of Tobruk.
The LNA, commanded by warlord Khalifa Haftar, was battling rival western forces until 2020, before a ceasefire was declared, leaving the country divided.