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The New Arab

Libya oil chief calls for militias to withdraw from oil crescent

Libya has been largely divided since the fall of dictator Gaddafi [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 June, 2018

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The head of Libya's state oil company on Saturday called on militias who have launched an offensive in the country's 'oil crescent' region to withdraw.
Libya's National Oil Corporation demanded on Saturday the "unconditional and immediate" withdrawal of fighters loyal to Ibrahim Jahran from the Ras Lanuf and Es Sider terminals, following a surprise assault on the oil-rich region on Thursday.
Ports have been forced to halt oil exports, while fighting has caused damage to infrastructure in the area which is the lifeblood for Libya.
"NOC calls for the unconditional and immediate withdrawal of the militia operating under Ibrahim Jathran to prevent an environmental disaster and further destruction of key infrastructure," it said in a statement.
"Further damage to these sites could have a huge impact on the Libyan oil sector and the national economy."
Benghazi Defence Brigades fighters launched an attack on Libya's oil-rich region on Thursday, which is held by the Libyan National Army, a militia controlled by former general Khalifa Haftar.
Jathran said the aim of the offensive was to "overturn the injustice" of LNA rule in the area, following Haftar's forces capture of the oil-rich region in 2016.
The aim of Jathran's militias was to seize the key oil ports and then move on to Benghazi in the west, which Haftar captured last year.
Heavy fighting has taken place around the oil crescent since Thursday with the LNA rushing in reinforcements to take back the ports and air strikes launched to push back Jathran's forces.
Libya has been largely divided since the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, with a number of militias fighting for control of the country.
An UN-recognised government is based in the capital Tripol, which is opposed by Haftar who controls the eastern half of the country
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