Libya: 16 Govt troops killed near Oil Crescent

6th Mar 2017
Libya: 16 Govt troops killed near Oil Crescent

By Jihad Nasr

 

TRIPOLI (AA): At least 16 soldiers aligned with East Libya-based government were killed in clashes with a rival militia near oil terminals in eastern Libya, according to a Libyan medical source.

Violence broke out Friday after the Benghazi Defense Brigades (BDB) attacked government troops in Libya’s eastern Oil Crescent.

“So far, the bodies of 16 government troops have been brought to hospital as a result of the clashes,” the source in the Mohammad Maqrif hospital in Ajdabiya city said Saturday on condition of anonymity because he was unauthorized to speak to media.

He said 11 government troops were also injured in the violence.

A security source said forces of the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by commander Khalifa Haftar, have entered the Ras Lanuf airport near the Oil Crescent.

“BDB forces still control the residential area in Ras Lanuf but our forces are preparing to storm it,” the source said anonymously due to restrictions on speaking to media.

Haftar’s forces have taken Es Sider, Ras Lanuf, Brega and Zueitina oil ports in eastern Libya in September.

The oil terminals at Es Sider and Ras Lanuf are two of Libya’s largest, with potential combined production capacity of about 600,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Libya has been wracked by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody uprising ended with the ouster and death of Muammar Gaddafi after 42 years in power.

In the wake of the uprising, the country’s stark political divisions yielded two rival seats of government, one in Tobruk and the other in Tripoli.

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

 

[Archive Photo: Military vehicles of Libyan Govt of National Accord forces conducting operation against Daesh in Sirte on June 2 2016. Photographer: Hazem Turkia/AA]

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