Libya’s state National Oil Corporation (NOC) confirmed yesterday that several locations in Zawia refinery were subjected to ‘‘varying damage’’ due to militia clashes that took place on Friday evening.
Militias v a family dispute?
Commenting on the clashes during a press conference at the Interior Ministry on Saturday, incumbent Caretaker Prime Minister Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba denied the clashes were between militias (armed groups) and preferred to refer to them as a ‘‘family dispute’’.
Aldabaiba criticises the Interior Ministry
Aldabaiba criticised his Interior Ministry saying that it needed to intervene from the beginning to end such clashes. “The Ministry of the Interior is the one with the utmost interested in armed clashes, such as what happened in the city of Al-Zawia last night, (which) turned out to be a family dispute,”
“We note that the Interior Ministry is arriving late. This must change, and the Interior Ministry must mobilize itself from the beginning.”
Aldabaiba instructed the Ministry of the Interior saying that its Security Directorates should have a role in solving the problems that occur in several cities, the latest of which was what happened in Zawia Friday night. He stressed ‘‘the necessity of controlling everyone who contributed to intimidating the people of the city and taking legal and regulatory measures towards such events, and the need for the Ministry of the Interior to present a detailed position on this incident, the perpetrators of it, and the measures taken against them’’.
29 sites damaged
The NOC said the preliminary assessment indicates that 29 sites, including oil derivatives tanks and several other tanks, have been damaged and that the company’s maintenance and safety teams are still carrying out evaluation, inventory, and processing work to date.
It called on ‘‘everyone to exercise restraint and keep oil facilities away from any armed actions that would endanger the lives of workers and damage the already dilapidated oil sector infrastructure’’.
Zawia refinery repeatedly damaged by militia clashes
It reminded that the Zawia oil complex has been severely and repeatedly damaged as a result of the armed clashes that have taken place next to it over the past years. This, it concluded in its statement, has led to, and continues to, endanger the lives of workers and threaten the process safety, the safety of assets and facilities.