Forces loyal to Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) have allegedly launched an attack against those of General Khalifa Haftar, a renegade general, claiming to have taken back control of an oil port terminal in the country’s so-called oil crescent in the east.
The Libyan military spokesman, Ali al-Hassi, made the announcement on Sunday, saying the clashes erupted over the seizure of the al-Sidra terminal near Ras Lanuf port, both of which had been captured by Haftar’s forces less than a week ago.
Ras Lanuf and al-Sidra are capable of handling 700,000 barrels of oil per day. The GNA almost entirely dependent on oil revenues for its income.
On September 11, forces loyal to Haftar captured the Mediterranean ports of Ras Lanuf, al-Sidra, Zueitina and Brega.
Western countries denounced the assaults on the ports, warning that they will seek a UN Security Council resolution aimed at preventing the “illicit” exports of oil from Libya.
Libya had two rival governments from mid-2014 up to December 2015. The two governments reached a consensus on the formation of the GNA in December 2015, after months of UN-brokered talks in Tunisia and Morocco to restore order to the country.
Libya, however, continues to be gripped by political strife and violence.
Since 2011, when long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled, Libya has been the scene of increasing violence. Gaddafi, the uprising against whom was also aided by a NATO military campaign, was soon killed by militants.