tobruk.jpg
Photograph: Google maps

A skirmish for control of Libyan oil terminals ended Sunday with troops aligned to one of the country's competing governments claiming they had repulsed rival forces who had sought to retake control of the major facilities.

“The attack has been repelled and the region is under control,” Muftah al-Muqarief, a spokesman for army troops loyal to the administration based in the eastern city of Tobruk, told dpa by phone.

The attackers were allegedly from the self-styled Oil Facilities Guards, a militia loyal to the UN-backed government based in the capital Tripoli.

They launched the surprise offensive early Sunday in an attempt to regain the terminals in Libya’s eastern region of Oil Crescent, which they lost last week, a military official said.

Al-Muqarief cited unspecified casualties in the clashes.

“The attacking forces retreated to the west and the situation is now quiet,” he added without giving details.

On September 11, forces led by general Khalifa Haftar, who is supported by the Tobruk administration, seized the terminals from the militia, raising fears of a new dispute in the war-torn OPEC country.

Libya has descended into anarchy since the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime dictator Moamer Gaddafi.

In March, the UN-backed unity government arrived in Tripoli amid international hopes it would be able to re-establish stability and stop expansion by the Islamic State extremist group in the country.

However, Haftar and the Tobruk-based elected parliament have refused to recognize the Tripoli government. 

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