Vienna International Centre, where IAEA offices are located
Vienna International Centre, where IAEA offices are locatediStock

The UN nuclear agency said on Wednesday that approximately 2.5 tons of natural uranium had gone missing from a site in Libya, AFP reported.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi told the organization’s member states that inspectors on Tuesday found that 10 drums containing uranium ore concentrate "were not present as previously declared" at the location in Libya.

The IAEA will conduct further activities "to clarify the circumstances of the removal of the nuclear material and its current location", the IAEA said in a statement, without providing further details on the site.

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.