Libyan authorities seeking 37 suspects over attacks on oil, military facilities

The closure of Libya’s oil crescent has led to production losses of up to 450,000 barrels per day. (Reuters)
Updated 05 January 2019
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Libyan authorities seeking 37 suspects over attacks on oil, military facilities

  • The closure of the oil crescent has led to production losses of up to 450,000 barrels per day

TRIPOLI: Libyan authorities issued arrest warrants for 37 suspects over attacks on key oil ports in the east of the country and a military base in the south, a source in the attorney general’s office said on Friday.
The source, who asked not to be named, confirmed the authenticity of the arrest warrants, which were dated January 2 and were leaked on Facebook on Thursday.
The warrants showed that 31 members of the Chadian and Sudanese opposition based in Libya, along with six Libyan nationals, are wanted for attacks on the oil ‘crescent’ in the east of the country and on the Tamanhint military base as well as for their participation in fighting between Libyan rivals.
After the toppling of veteran Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011, fighters from neighboring Chad and Sudan joined the ensuing turmoil. Competing Libyan armed factions frequently accuse each other of deploying mercenaries from sub-Saharan Africa.
The Libyan suspects include Abdul Hakim Belhadj, a rebel leader who helped to topple Qaddafi in 2011 and is now an Islamist political leader.
Last year Britain apologized to Belhadj and his wife over the role of British intelligence officers in their 2004 rendition from Thailand to Libya.
Ibrahim Jadhran, who is accused of launching an attack last June on the oil crescent, is also among those sought by the Libyan authorities.
Jadhran’s forces controlled the oil crescent for years until it was taken over in 2016 by the Libyan National Army, which is loyal to Commander Khalifa Haftar in eastern Libya.
The closure of the oil crescent, where key oil ports are located, has led to production losses of up to 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) from a total national output of little over one million bpd.
Last September, the UN Security Council added Jadhran to the list of individuals subject to an assets freeze and a travel ban.
Libya’s east-west division, in place since disputed elections and an escalation of fighting in 2014, has split key institutions and produced a deadlock between the rump parliaments and the shifting military factions they are aligned with.


Thousands of Algerians protest against Bouteflika’s re-election bid

Updated 32 min 33 sec ago
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Thousands of Algerians protest against Bouteflika’s re-election bid

ALGIERS: Thousands of young Algerians took to the streets of the capital on Friday to protest against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s plans to seek a fifth term and police fired tear gas to disperse the crowds.
The 81-year old, in office since 1999, has said he will contest the April 18 presidential election, despite concerns over his health. He has been seen in public only a handful of times since suffering a stroke in 2013.
“No to Bouteflika and no to Said,” a crowed chanted while marching through the center of Algiers. The president’s youngest brother Said Bouteflika is a presidential adviser.
Reuters journalists filmed tear gas being fired over a crowd that ran to escape.
“We and the security are brothers,” some protesters chanted.
The protest came after mosque preachers had warned in Friday prayers against demonstrating, warning of violence.
Bouteflika’s re-election bid comes after the ruling FLN party picked him as its official presidential candidate. Several political parties, trade unions and business organizations have already said they would support his re-election.
He is expected to easily win the vote as the opposition remains weak and divided.
But many young people feel disconnected from an elite made up of veteran fighters from Algeria’s 1954-1962 independence war with France.
His re-election would provide short-term stability for the FLN, the army and business tycoons, and postpone a potentially difficult succession.
Bouteflika remains popular with many Algerians, who credit him with ending a long civil war by offering an amnesty to former extremist fighters.
Algeria is a key gas supplier to Europe and an ally of the United States in the fight against Islamist militants in the Sahel region of North Africa.