(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA)’s Presidential Council (PC) released a press release on Wednesday distancing itself from the attack that took place in the Libyan oil facilities in Libya’s oil crescent region.
On Wednesday, the town of Ben Jawad, which is about 30 kilometres west of Es Sider in Libya’s oil crescent region, was taken over by armed groups. Soldiers loyal to Libya’s Tobruk-based eastern parliament and General Khalifa Haftar fought back with airstrikes, according to officials.
Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said that all repair workers at the oil facility at Es Sider were evacuated when the fighting was heard. The Es Sider oil facility will remain closed until the damages caused by previous clashes are repaired.
According to a source in Ben Jawad, the attackers have “retreated towards Harawa”, a town about 83 kilometres west of Ben Jawad, said Claudia Gazzini, a senior analyst on Libya for the International Crisis Group.
“Fighting there (Ben Jawad) only lasted half (an) hour,” added Gazzini.
The attackers, who are calling themselves Operation Room for the Liberation of Oil Terminals and Fields.
Libyan media shared a press release from the military unit on Wednesday which stated that the attack was in pursuit of liberating “the oil fields and ports from mercenaries” and allow Libya’s national oil institutions to reclaim the facilities “without restrictions or condition”.
In its statement, the PC refuted rumors that the UN-backed unity government has been orchestrating a takeover of oil facilities in the oil crescent region.
The Libyan Government’s statement also emphasized that the oil produced from the oil crescent region is the property and wealth of all Libyan people. The oil facilities must not become the grounds for battle, said the statement.
Martin Kobler, the UN special envoy to Libya, said that he supports the GNA’s statement, and re-emphasized that protecting Libyan oil facilities “is national interest”.