Gunmen attack Libya’s al-Ghani oil field, killing 8 guards

A member of Libya's security forces walks by an oil drill at the al-Ghani oil field, Libya, on March 23, 2013. (© AFP)
A member of Libya’s security forces walks by an oil drill at the al-Ghani oil field, Libya, on March 23, 2013. (© AFP)


At least eight people have been killed when unidentified gunmen attacked an oil field in Libya’s violence-wracked southwestern region of Fezzan.

Libyan National Oil Corporation spokesman, Mohammed al-Harari, said eight guards were shot dead as militants attacked al-Ghani oil field near the town of Zalla, some 750 kilometers (470 miles) southeast of the capital, Tripoli, on Friday.

The assailants later set the field ablaze, and black smoke rising from the facility filled the sky overhead. It was not immediately clear if the militants had taken control of the oil field or run away.

Force majeure has already been declared at 11 Libyan oil fields following consecutive attacks by militants, a move which protects the North African country from liability in case it cannot fulfill its contracts.

On Wednesday, Libya’s state-run oil company warned to “close all fields and ports” unless improvements were made in the country’s security situation.

The warning came after militants took control of al-Bahi and al-Mabrouk oil fields in central Libya a day earlier.

Over the last few weeks, both oil fields, located some 500 kilometers (310 miles) east of the capital, Tripoli, have been forced to shut down over violence and complications at export terminals.

During a similar attack on the oil fields in February, 11 people were killed and staff were forced to evacuate.

Libya rivals hold talks in Morocco

Representatives of Libya’s rival parliaments held long-delayed UN-sponsored negotiations in Morocco on Thursday in a bid to form a government of national unity in the conflict-ridden country.

The talks were part of an attempt to “find an agreement between the different parties on a national personality to lead a national unity government,” a participant said on condition of anonymity.

Libya crisis

Libya has two rival camps vying for control of the country, with one controlling the capital, Tripoli, and the other, Libya’s internationally recognized government, governing the eastern cities of Bayda and Tobruk.

The internationally recognized government of Libya asked the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) last month to lift the arms embargo on the country, which was imposed back in 2011, when Libya witnessed chaos following the uprising against longtime dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya plunged into chaos following the ouster of Gaddafi, which gave rise to a patchwork of heavily-armed militias and deep political divisions.


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