Oilfields in Libya continue to be a target for rival forces
Militants from Libya’s Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate abducted nine foreigners, including four Filipinos, in an attack on a central oilfield last week and beheaded eight Libyan guards, reports the BBC. The Austrain foreign ministry in Vienna said ISIS had attacked the al-Ghani oil field, located about 440 miles south-east of Tripoli, on Friday.
Oilfields have become a regular target for rival factions in Libya vying for political control of the state. Oil represents about
90%-95% of the state’s income, making it a prime target for groups trying to fund competing governments, but recent attacks seem to be aimed purely at destroying assets.
Ahmed al-Mesmari, a spokesman for the Libyan army, told the BBC, “The attackers don’t want to control the oil fields, that’s not their aim – it seems their aim is to burn, destroy and steal whatever they can.” After burning the biggest oil storage tank in the al-Ghani field, they headed for another oil field, but were repelled.
The captured foreign workers were employed for oilfield management company Value Added Oilfield Services (VAOS). VAOS said it did not know which militants had carried out the attack or where the oil workers had been taken, but it insisted that none of its employees had “died or were physically harmed in the attack.”
Confirming that four of the missing workers were their nationals, the Philippines said it brought the number of Filipinos now missing in Libya to seven. The other foreign workers were an Austrian, a Bangladeshi, a Czech, a Ghanaian and unidentified ninth foreigner, according to Austrian officials.
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