Libya accuses foreign mercenaries of entering oilfield
National Oil Corporation rejects attempts by Russia and other countries to block oil production at Sharara oilfield.
Oil exports were halted in January by eastern forces, cutting off Libya’s main source of revenue [File: Ismail Zitouny/Reuters]
Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) has said Russian and other foreign mercenaries entered a giant oilfield in the country’s southwest, adding it completely rejects “attempts by foreign countries to prevent the resumption of oil production”.
On Friday, the NOC – which is based in the capital, Tripoli, the seat of the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) – said the mercenaries entered Sharara oilfield in a convoy of vehicles and met representatives of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), a force established to maintain security at the oilfields.
Libya, a major oil producer, has been mired in chaos since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi. For some six years now, it has been split between rival factions based in Tripoli and in the east, in a sometimes chaotic war that has drawn in outside powers and a flood of foreign arms and mercenaries.
Oilfields and export facilities are mostly located in the territory controlled by the eastern-based self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), led by renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar.