(Arab News) LONDON: Seven members of Libya’s armed forces were killed in renewed fighting around the port of Ras Lanuf.
The official spokesman for the Libyan National Army confirmed that army units are in control of the entire oil crescent region but sent units to mop up opposition forces who gathered west of the region.
Col. Ahmed Al-Mesmari said, in an interview on Al-Arabiya Channel, that Libyan army units continue their operation against Al-Jadran militia and their allies south of Nofaliah and in the area known as KM60 east of the city of Sirte.
Al-Mesmari added the army units have been chasing the militants since taking over unit one of the ‘Ras Lanuf’ oil compound. Al-Mesmari revealed also that the militias left behind huge quantities of weapons, ammunition, and vehicles in addition to several prisoners.
The Libyan army spokesperson added that “our orders are to end the militia’s presence in the oil crescent once and for all.”
Earlier, the Libyan army chief of staff General Khalifah Haftar declared in an audio recording that the objective of his units is to liberate the oil crescent from militia control and to return the vital oil installation to the country’s economy.
General Haftar also said that he holds the leader of the local militia in the oil crescent Ibrahim Al-Jadran responsible for the latest clashes.
Al-Jadran has defied all Libyan administrations since the ousting of Muammar Qaddafi’s regime, in 2011.
Al-Jadran also succeeded in the past in halting all oil exports from the oil crescent area in Libya until his forces were routed by the army, in 2016.