Clashes at Libyan oilfield claim five lives


Libyan forces killed three suspected Islamic State fighters near an oilfield in the southeast of the country, a local official said.

Two soldiers were also killed and five wounded during clashes over two days, one near the Dhahra oilfield on Saturday, said Umar al-Faqeh, head of the Maradah administration to which the area belongs. There was fighting in another area on Friday, he added.

The Dhahra field is operated by Waha, a joint-venture between Libya’s state National Oil Company and US firms Hess, Marathon and ConocoPhillips.

The protection force guarding Waha operations is allied to Libya’s eastern government. The UN-backed administration is in Tripoli in western Libya.

Libya has been mired in conflict since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

In December, armed men blew up a Waha pipeline pumping crude to Es Sider port, temporarily cutting Libyan output by around 100,000 barrels per day. Officials blamed “terrorists”, without giving details.

The area has poor security and sources say it has been populated by Islamic State fighters since they lost control of Sirte, their stronghold in Libya in 2016.