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Libya gas exports to Italy halted over militant clashes

Libya gas exports to Italy halted over militant clashes

PanARMENIAN.Net - Transport of natural gas from Libya to Italy through a major pipeline in the country's west was halted Sunday, March 3 after clashes between tribesmen and forces guarding the natural gas complex, a security official said, according to AP.

The unrest was just the latest instance of tribal clashes disrupting efforts to bring Libya under control of the central government.

A company official said foreign staff of the Mettillah Oil and Gas complex near Zwara, about 110 kilometers (70 miles) from the capital Tripoli, were evacuated following the clashes which broke out Saturday.

The security official said the move to halt exports was a security measure, but no pipelines were affected. He said one of the company staff was injured during the clashes, which ended on Sunday.

The complex is a joint venture between Libya's National Oil Corporation and Italy's largest energy company, Eni SpA.

A lawmaker from Zwara, Nouri Abu-Sahmein, blamed the guards at the complex. Abu-Sahmein said the clashes broke out after guards refused to stop at a local checkpoint. Clashes erupted with the local ethnic Berber tribesmen early Saturday, killing a tribesman.

The guards are from Zintan, home of the rebels who were first to sweep into the capital, Tripoli, in August last year, dealing the decisive blow to the regime of former dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

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