By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 17 December 2014:
The Libya Dawn operation to ensure the country’s oil facilities are under the control of . . .[restrict]the Tripoli-based government has denied carrying out airstrikes as part of its ongoing offensive.
“I confirm we have not used any aircraft so far,” Operation Sunrise spokesman Ismail Ashukri said yesterday, refuting reports that circulated in the media yesterday.
In what appeared to be a reference to Ibrahim Jadhran, he said that the operation’s sole task was to “lift the siege that has been enforced on the ports by outlawed groups.”
Erstwhile federalist champion Jadhan kept three of the country’s oil export terminals closed for almost a year as part of a dispute about the distribution of Libya’s oil wealth. He has continued to head the Petroleum Facilities Guard tasked with providing security at the oil export terminals and oil fields.
“We consider these groups to be terrorist groups and they are taking shelter inside the oil ports,” Ashukri said. “They have turned the oil ports into military bases and warehouses for weapons and ammunition.”
Operation Sunrise was established under a Chief of Staff decision on 30 November assigning an armed force to protect and secure the oil export terminals in the eastern region, he said. It had one task – to secure oil facilities in the east and return these back to the control of the government – and, as soon as this was achieved, the operation would cease.
“This military operation is not targeting any certain city, clan or tribe but is only against outlawed groups that are controlling the future and main resources of the Libyan people which has resulted in a great loss valued at billions of dollars,” Ashukri said.
He assured international and local companies based at the country’s oil ports that their property would be protected until such time as normal port operations could resume and workers could return. [/restrict]