Libyan state oil firm NOC called for the safe return of the national head of the oil workers’ labour union, Saad Dinar, abducted by an armed group on Monday near Benghazi.
“NOC is gravely concerned about Mr Dinar’s wellbeing. He has not been seen since his seizure,” NOC said in a statement. Dinar is also an NOC staff member.
NOC is in Tripoli, home to the internationally recognised government. Benghazi is controlled by the forces of commander Khalifa Haftar, who last month launched an offensive to take the capital.
Reuters was unable to reach eastern authorities for comment.
A source close to Dinar’s family said he was driven to an unknown location by people who seized him at around midnight on April 29 near his home in Suluq, close to Benghazi.
Relations between NOC, which handles oil and gas exports for the whole of Libya, and Haftar’s forces deteriorated last week.
NOC said several Libyan warships used oil port Ras Lanuf and military personnel entered nearby Es Sider terminal. It did not say who was responsible, but both terminals, Libya’s biggest oil export ports, are controlled by Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) force.
The LNA said last week it sent a warship to Ras Lanuf on a “training mission”.
A spokesman for NOC told Reuters the firm was “concerned by renewed attempts to divide the corporation” and “particularly alarmed by evidence of staff coercion.”
The statement came after several NOC units and executives in the east expressed support for Haftar’s Tripoli offensive.