Libyan general seizes key oil terminals from militia

2016-09-12 21:21


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Benghazi - Libyan forces loyal to a powerful general say they have seized a third oil terminal from a rival militia in the east, giving the divisive leader a bargaining chip in negotiations with rival UN -backed authorities in the capital, Tripoli.

Forces led by General Khalifa Hifter said late on Sunday that they had seized the Zueitina terminal from a militia known as the Petroleum Facilities Guards, hours after capturing the nearby terminals of Ras Lanuf and al-Sidra.
Most of Libya's oil exports went through the three terminals before the militia seized them more than two years ago.

Hifter's army units urged the state-run oil corporation, which is based in Tripoli, to resume oil exports.

Libya drifted into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and today is split between rival parliaments and governments in the east and west, each backed by a loose array of militias and tribes.

Hifter enjoys the support of the internationally-recognised parliament, which meets in the east. The parliament has refused to approve the formation of a UN-backed government in Tripoli, in the west, in part because of differences over Hifter's future role in Libya.

US-led airstrikes 

The capture of the oil terminals could strengthen Hifter's hand, making it more difficult to ignore demands from him and others in the east for more clout in a power-sharing government.

The UN-brokered presidency council — which is tasked with forming a unity government— said late Sunday that the takeover by Hifter's forces is "contradicting the path of reconciliation and frustrating Libyans."

The nine-member council is divided between supporters and opponents of Hifter. Martin Kobler, the UN envoy to Libya, expressed concern over the general's seizure of the terminals.

Libyan forces loyal to the UN-backed government are currently battling a powerful Islamic State affiliate in the central city of Sirte with the help of US-led airstrikes.

The US and other Western nations view the UN-backed government in the capital as the best hope for unifying Libyans and defeating the extremist group.

Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni told reporters on Monday during a visit to Cyprus that Rome had agreed to a request from the Libyan unity government to send a military hospital, "which obviously will have its protection," the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Asked about media reports that some 200 Italian paratroopers could be deployed to protect the hospital, Gentiloni replied that more details will be announced later by the Italian defense minister.

Read more on:    libya  |  north africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.