Protesters Partially Shut Libya Oilfield, Demand Unpaid Wages

A general view shows Libya's Sharara oilfield. (File photo: Reuters)
A general view shows Libya's Sharara oilfield. (File photo: Reuters)
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Protesters Partially Shut Libya Oilfield, Demand Unpaid Wages

A general view shows Libya's Sharara oilfield. (File photo: Reuters)
A general view shows Libya's Sharara oilfield. (File photo: Reuters)

Members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) in Libya announced that an armed group took control and shut down oil and gas fields in the southwest, demanding their unpaid salaries and other benefits.

In a statement, the protestors said they had granted the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity (GNU) a 48-hour deadline to meet their demands, but "to no avail."

They noted that head of the GNU Abdulhamid Dbeibeh had ordered authorities to grant them their dues, but nothing happened.

The statement said there was "no adherence" to any of Dbeibeh’s instructions to "consider the situation of the PFG and its members, restore their full rights, and implement the decisions regarding their financial dues."

Members of the PFG lined up in front of the North Hamada field in southern Libya to protest the authorities’ neglect of their legitimate demands.

They said they had held several peaceful protests without sabotaging or violating state property.

Since Libya slid into chaos after the 2014 revolt, various forces have used oil revenues as a "pressure card" against politicians to meet their demands.

The PFG said they were loyal "soldiers to the Libyan people," pointing out that since the Feb. 17 revolution, they had left their jobs and families to "protect the homeland and source of the Libyans' livelihood", including oil and gas fields.

They said they had resorted to the partial closure after having grown "fed up" with the authorities for failing to meet their demands.

Last Tuesday, employees of the Petroleum Facilities Guard at the Zawiya Refinery announced the closure of the refinery and the Mellitah and Misrata oil complexes, demanding their rights, including unpaid salaries and settlements.

They also demanded the implementation of the decision to grant them health insurance, similar to the employees of the National Oil Corporation.

Libya’s oil production will once again fall victim to the cycle of "partial closure" if the Petroleum Facilities Guard continue the shutdown.

On Jan. 3, "Youth and Women in Fezzan" protesters shut down the Sharara oilfield, forcing the National Oil Corporation (NOC) to declare force majeure.

It lifted the "force majeure" on Jan. 23 and announced the resumption of production.



Yemen's Houthis Say to Escalate Military Operations in Support of Gaza

A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)
A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)
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Yemen's Houthis Say to Escalate Military Operations in Support of Gaza

A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)
A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)

Yemen's Houthis will continue their military operations and escalate them "in quality and quantity" in support of Palestinians in Israel's war in Gaza, the Iran-backed group's leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi said in a televised speech on Thursday, Reuters reported.

The group have been attacking ships in the Red Sea region since November, forcing shippers to re-route cargo to longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa.

The group later expanded the scope of its attacks to the Indian Ocean and said it would also target any ships heading towards Israeli ports in the Mediterranean Sea.