Several containers of natural uranium reported missing by the UN's nuclear watchdog in Libya have been found, a general with one of the country's two rival camps said Thursday, according to the AFP news agency.

General Khaled al-Mahjoub, commander of eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar's communications division, said on his Facebook page that the containers of uranium had been recovered "barely five kilometers" from where they had been stored in the Sabha area of southern Libya.

"The situation is under control. The IAEA has been informed," Mahjoub told AFP.

On Wednesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna reported that 2.5 tons of natural uranium had gone missing from a Libyan site.

Following the announced discovery on Thursday, the IAEA said it was trying to verify the information.

Libya in 2003 abandoned a program to develop nuclear weapons under its former dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

The country has been mired in a political crisis since Qaddafi was ousted from power in 2011, with a myriad of militias forming opposing alliances backed by foreign powers.

It remains split between a nominally interim government in the capital Tripoli, and another backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Libya was previously known to have had chemical weapons. During the civil war in Libya which resulted in Qaddafi’s ouster and death, it was confirmed that Qaddafi had ten tons of mustard gas stockpiled, and it was feared he might use it on opposition forces seeking to bring an end to his regime. Iran had supplied Qaddafi with hundreds of special artillery shells for chemical weapons that Libya kept secret for decades.

In October of 2011, the Libyan government confirmed the presence of chemical weapons in Libya and said foreign inspectors would deal with the issue.

In 2016, a Libyan former intelligence official said that the Islamic State (ISIS) and other terrorist groups had gotten hold of the chemical weapons that had remained in Libya from the Qaddafi regime.