Gunmen seize Libya oilfield, take hostages

2015-02-04 17:03

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

Tripoli - Gunmen possibly linked to Islamist militants assaulted and seized control of a Libyan oilfield, killing and kidnapping several workers, Libyan and foreign officials said on Wednesday.

A French diplomatic source in Paris said four local employees were believed to have been killed in the raid on the remote al-Mabrook oilfield south of Sirte on Tuesday night.

The Philippines Foreign Ministry said three Filipinos were among four foreign nationals who were kidnapped.

France's Total has a stake in the site but it is contracted to a Libyan company. The Filipinos worked for an Italian company

"Unknown gunmen stormed the Mabrook oilfield last night," National Oil Corp (NOC) spokesperson Mohamed El Harari said, without providing details.

Ali al-Hassi, spokesperson for an oil guard force, blamed Islamists for the attack.

"The field is outside of our control," he said. "Islamic State is controlling it."

Rival armed factions have been fighting for almost two months for control of Libya's biggest oil ports, Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, on the Mediterranean coast.

Four years after the overthrow of leader Muammar Gaddafi, the country is in turmoil with two rival governments controlling different areas, each with their own armies.

The recognized government of Abdullah al-Thinni and elected parliament has been forced to work out of an eastern rump state since a faction called Libya Dawn seized the capital Tripoli in August, setting up its own administration and reinstating the old assembly.

Total withdrawn

Al-Mabrook closed following clashes which shut Es Sider in December. It used to pump 40 000 barrels a day.

Total said it had already withdrawn staff from the site in 2013 and had no personnel onshore since July 2014. It was not clear whether NOC had employed expatriate staff at the field.

The French diplomatic source said no French citizens were among the dead.

"There are possibly four dead local people," he said.

It was not immediately possible to verify the assertion that Islamists were involved.

Militants claiming links to ISIS, which controls parts of Syria and Iraq, claimed an attack on the Corinthia luxury hotel in Tripoli last week that killed nine people, among them five foreigners.

Officials of the government in Tripoli denied the claim, blaming "Gaddafi loyalists" for that assault.

Militants in Libya have claimed loyalty to ISIS on social media but facts are hard to get in a country where officials often contradict themselves.

Western powers and Libya's neighbours have been worried about a spread of Islamist militants in the desert nation. Sirte is home to members of the Ansar al-Sharia Islamist group blamed by Washington for an attack on a US diplomatic compound in Benghazi in 2012 in which the US ambassador was killed.

Read more on:    total  |  libya  |  philippines  |  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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


How to open a beer bottle without an opener

Do the right thing and never be thirsty again…


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…
WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
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.