The 2.5 tons of uranium that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declared missing in Libya on Wednesday has been recovered, the Libyan National Army (LNA) claims.
Libyan forces announced the recovery of the natural uranium on Thursday, saying they found the 10 drums of ore near the border with Chad. An IAEA spokesman told Fox News Digital that the organization has yet to verify the claim.
“We are aware of media reports that the material has been found, the Agency is actively working to verify them,” the spokesman said.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog inspectors made discovered that the uranium was missing while carrying out an inspection that had been postponed last year due to the country’s deteriorating security situation.
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The agency says it is still investigating how the 10 barrels were moved from where the Libyan government said they would be.
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The agency acknowledged that the missing nuclear material presents a “radiological risk, as well as nuclear security concerns.”
Libya’s security deteriorated following the NATO-backed uprising that ousted the country’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Since 2014, rival political factions have competed for control, with the last bout of conflict ending in 2021.
The division of the oil-rich nation has fueled violence between armed groups and driven many refugees to attempt the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea. Many of these journeys end in drownings.
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Gen Khaled al-Mahjoub of the LNA says the 10 barrels of uranium were found “barely 5 kilometers” from where they were supposed to be stored.
Fox News’ Bradford Betz contributed to this report.