BREAKING: Turkish firm pulls 93 engineers out of kidnap-hit Obari power station

By Libya Herald reporters.

ENKA workers leave Obari for Turkey this afternoon (Photo: GECOL)

ENKA workers leave Obari for Turkey this afternoon (Photo: GECOL)

Benghazi, 9 November 2017:

The Turkish firm building Obari power station has this afternoon flown 93 of its staff out of Libya, a week after three Turkish nationals and a South African were kidnapped outside the town’s airport.

Obari power station management said that the Turkish contractor, ENKA had waited a week to see if the four men would be released by their kidnappers. Since there had been no progress it had put its remaining nationals on a Libyan Airlines flight to Tripoli from where they are due to be flown on to Istanbul.

The four men seized last Friday  were actually working for Siemens. The following day, the German firm is understood to have flown out all its engineers working on the project.

The 640MW Obari power station is almost complete. Last week, tests were being conducted on the last of its four turbines. However, someone close to the project said that a pipeline from the Sharara oil field had not yet been completed. At the moment fuel was still being delivered by tankers.

The Turkish pullout is likely to prove disastrous for Libyan attempts to woe back foreign contractors, especially by the National Oil Corporation (NOC) which has important repair and maintenance projects that need outside technicians.

Yesterday, Turkish ambassador Ahmet Dogan warned Presidency Council deputy head Ahmed Maetig that the kidnappings could affect work on the power station and lead to power cuts.

This January ENKA only agreed to resume work on the sorely-needed Obari power station if the state electricity company GECOL could guarantee the safety of foreign contractors. It also insisted that regular scheduled flights be put in place between Obari airport and Tripoli’s Mitiga. It was on one such flight that the Turkish engineers left this afternoon.

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