Russian mercenaries have booby-trapped everything in Libya, from streets, houses to even dolls, according to British daily The Independent on Monday.
“Russian mercenaries fled the Libyan capital last summer, leaving behind booby-trapped houses and yards,” the newspaper quoted Libyan demining experts as saying. “They [Russian mercenaries] attached explosives to toilet seats, doors, and teddy bears, designed to detonate upon touch.”
According to the newspaper, the oddest booby-trap was empty soft-drink cans as young Libyans like to crush these cans for fun.
“They studied us, even how our kids played,” Rabie al-Jawashi, the head of the Free Fields Foundation, a Libyan demining agency, told The Independent. “They know how we think.”
According to the newspaper, hundreds, or perhaps thousands of Libyan families can’t return to their homes because of the Russian explosives.
“It’s a sad thing to see the world’s trash dumped in Libya,” Mohammed Zlateni, a team leader of the demining experts, said.
“Those who are responsible are those who backed the sides [in Libya’s civil war]. If there was no outside support, this would not have happened. We Libyans are now paying the price,” he said.
Last summer, Free Fields teams were among the first demining experts to enter areas that were under the control of Wagner mercenaries where deminers found bodybuilding equipment, imported bottles of water, and cans of fortified milk formula inside the houses.
Experts also found graffiti scrawled on walls in Russian and Serbian, with instructions on how to open doors and go to the bathroom without triggering the explosives.
“One toilet was designed with a sensor to ignite 9lb of TNT when a person sat on the seat,” the deminers said. They also said they found a teddy bear attached to six wires that would explode when someone walked towards it from any direction.
According to the daily, the deminers also found a range of innovative mines, including a Russian “scattering mine” that deploys itself and self-destructs in 100 hours, an anti-personnel mine with laser beams as tripwires, and sinister combinations of mines, such as an arrangement in which one mine is a decoy and another explodes.
Libya’s civil war, which continued since the ouster and killing of strongman Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011, was exacerbated in 2019 when warlord Khalifa Haftar carried out a military onslaught to topple the Tripoli-based internationally recognized government for control of the North African country.
Libya’s new unity government headed by Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh was sworn in in March 2021.