Published: Tue, March 07, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Libya's NOC reviewed loading schedules after clashes near oil ports

Libya's NOC reviewed loading schedules after clashes near oil ports

"It shows nobody can control Libya by force", he said, in an apparent reference to Haftar, whose critics have accused him of wanting to install a military regime in the oil-rich country.

The Benghazi Defence Brigades are an Islamist militia that controlled Libya's second city until Haftar's forces ousted them from almost all of it in an offensive launched in 2014.

Libyan militias occupied major oil terminals on Friday after clashes with armed forces based in the east and commanded by army chief Gen. Khalifa Hifter, military officials said, amid fears the facilitates could sustain serious damage if the clashes escalate.

On Sunday afternoon, LNA warplanes targeted positions near Es Sider and south of the coastal town of Ben Jawad, about 30 km (20 miles) to the east, LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari told Reuters.

Faisal al-Zwei, the spokesman for the 101 Brigade, based at the so-called oil crescent region, told The Associated Press that some 1,000 militiamen in 200 vehicles clashed with the eastern armed forces over the oil terminals of al-Sidra and Ras Lanuf on Friday, forcing the army units to retreat. "We lost two men".

Crude shipments from Es Sider, the nation's largest oil port, and Ras Lanuf, its third-biggest, have been suspended until security improves and workers return to the facilities, Jadalla Alaokali, a board member of Libya's National Oil Corp., said by phone. But the battle is ongoing.

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Libya remains regionally split with two centres of power that politically oppose each other, and a myriad of rival armed groups that the country's two governments can not control. "The situation in the Oil Crescent remains under control".

In an effort to resolve the political deadlock, Libya's rival governments signed a UN-backed agreement in late 2015 establishing a government of national unity.

A diplomatic source, who asked not to be named, told the BBC that it had overrun much of the oil crescent including Sidra, Ras Lanuf and Naufliya, but this can not be independently confirmed.

The Benghazi Defence Brigades carried out a similar attack on the Oil Crescent in December, but were forced back by Haftar's forces. They're also joined by militiamen from the western city of Misrata.

The GNA has struggled to impose its authority as it faces a multitude of battle-hardened fighters who took part in the uprising that ousted Kadhafi.

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