Libyan army to hand over oil crescent region to eastern interim government

The eastern-based Libyan army said Monday that it will hand over the oil crescent region to the National Oil Corporation of the eastern-based interim government.
The army spokesman Ahmed Mismari told a news conference in the eastern city of Benghazi that the army commander Khalifa Haftar made the decision to hand over the oil ports and fields secured by the armed forces to the oil company of the interim government.
“Our troops are stationed in the oil crescent region. We are still chasing the forces of Jathran, and we will hunt anyone who stands by his side,” he said.
“Now, it is an issue of the homeland, and the battle in Brega and Es Sidra (oil ports) is not local, but an international one,” Mismari added.
A terror group, called Benghazi Defense Brigades, allied with Ibrahim Jathran, a wanted ex-chief of the oil installation guards service, recently launched an attack on the Libyan oil crescent region and clashed with the army forces there.
The Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation evacuated all employees from the area, declaring that the attack caused loss of 240,000 barrels of oil production a day.
The corporation also warned against an environmental disaster due to damage of oil tanks.
A few days after the attack, the army announced it had defeated the terrorists and had recaptured the region, after a battle that killed 16 soldiers and dozens of terrorists.
The oil crescent region, located some 500 km east of the capital Tripoli, boasts Libya’s largest oil ports.
Mismari stressed that the army “will not allow anyone to manipulate Libyan funds, and will continue to protect the livelihood of Libyans.”

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