Libyan oil pipeline sabotaged, gunmen storm Sirte offices

Members of Libyan pro-government forces, who are backed by the locals, sit together during clashes with the Shura Council of Libyan Revolutionaries in the streets of Benghazi, late January, 2015. The council is an alliance of former anti-Gaddafi rebels who have joined forces with Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia. Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Reuters

Libya’s National Oil Corporation urgently called on Saturday for more official protection for its installations after an oil pipeline from its El Sarir field was sabotaged, halting flow to Hariga port.

In a separate incident, gunmen stormed government buildings in the coastal city of Sirte, forcing officials out at gunpoint and taking over administrative offices and television and radio stations, the state news agency said.

No group claimed responsibility for Saturday’s pipeline sabotage, but oil infrastructure, ports and pipelines in the North African OPEC member state are often targets of attack.

Libya is riven by conflict, with two rival governments operating their own armed forces under separate parliaments, nearly four years after the civil war that led to the overthrow and death of leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The fighting also involves Islamist militant groups, former rebels, soldiers who fought for Gaddafi, and tribal and federalist factions often pursuing local causes.

In addition to the El Sarir sabotage, the National Oil Corporation said in a statement that gunmen had also tried on Friday to attack the Bahi oil facility in central Libya, but did not cause any damage…

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