An armed motorcade belonging to members of Derna's Islamic Youth Shura Council, which has pledged allegiance to ISIS, drive along a road in eastern Libya on October 3, 2014 – REUTERS An armed motorcade belonging to members of Derna's Islamic Youth Shura Council, which has pledged allegiance to ISIS, drive along a road in eastern Libya on October 3, 2014 – REUTERS

Exclusive: Handing oil ports to Benghazi’s NOC helps uproot terrorism, Al-Hassi says

Tue, Jun. 26, 2018
CAIRO – 26 June 2018: The eastern-based National Oil Corporation (NOC) announced receiving an official letter from Khalifa Haftar, the Libyan National Army commander, handing over control of oil ports in the east.

Prior to the decision, the oil facilities were controlled by NOC in Tripoli, which previously handled Libya’s oil exports.

Praising Haftar’s decision, head of the NOC in Benghazi Faraj Saeed Al-Hassi told Egypt Today that his corporation is the legitimate responsible body. He added that the decision will help eradicate terrorism, as militant organizations had formerly gained a share of the oil revenues.

Hassi claimed that the militant organizations attacking the oil crescent are funded from Libya’s oil revenues.

Haftar’s decision came after a meeting with the Parliamentary Speaker Aguila Saleh and interim Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani on Saturday in Rajma, east of Benghazi, Hassi said.

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The eastern-based National Oil Corporation announced receiving an official letter from Khalifa Haftar, handing over control of oil ports in the east – press photo

The Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said the move aims to prevent oil revenues from being used to back militias such as “Chadian mercenaries”, and is due to a lack of recognition from the chairman of NOC Tripoli, Mustafa Sanalla, for the “sacrifices” of LNA troops guarding the ports, Reuters reported.

Eastern factions have long accused the Central Bank of Libya of misspending oil revenues and allocating insufficient funds to the east.

Mismari announced in a press conference that the LNA had foiled 5 attacks on Libya’s oil crescent, which reportedly incorporates about 80 percent of Libya’s oil, thereby causing the death of 184 LNA soldiers while defending the region.

Haftar forces had earlier announced full control of the oil crescent after fierce clashes with rival militias that had controlled the region.

A spokesman for the Eastern Libyan forces announced on June 21 that the force is in full control of the Es Sider and Ras Lanuf oil ports in the country's oil crescent.

The NOC said in a statement that storage tank 12 in Ras Lanuf had been "significantly damaged" in fighting earlier in June, when armed forces linked to former oil port blockader Ibrahim Jathran stormed the two ports, leading to their closure.

"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," the statement read.

Libya has been in a state of turmoil since the 2011 civil war that resulted in the overthrow of longstanding ruler Muammar Gaddafi by rebel fighters backed by NATO airstrikes.

Derna’s battle against terrorism

Earlier in May, Heftar, stated that Derna will be declared terrorism-free soon, calling on soldiers to purge the city from terrorism, while keeping in consideration the safety of civilians. Derna is controlled by a coalition of Islamist militants and rebels known as the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council (DMSC).

The LNA has succeeded to liberate the city of Derna entirely from terrorists after few weeks of fierce clashes, a high-profile military source revealed to Egypt Today Tuesday.

The source manifested the defeated terrorist groups had collapsed all over the city, adding that the military engineers cleared the city’s streets.

Parts of the reporting were taken from Reuters
 
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