News / Africa

Fuel Tank Fires Rage as Libya Struggles With Violence

Black smoke billows over the skyline as a fire at the oil depot for the airport rages out of control after being struck in the crossfire of warring militias battling for control of the airfield, in Tripoli, Libya, July 28, 2014.
Black smoke billows over the skyline as a fire at the oil depot for the airport rages out of control after being struck in the crossfire of warring militias battling for control of the airfield, in Tripoli, Libya, July 28, 2014.
VOA News

A fire continued to rage out of control Tuesday at an oil depot that supplies Libya's airport in the capital Tripoli, officials said.

The fuel storage tanks were struck on Monday in the crossfire of warring militias battling for control of the airfield, the latest violence to plague the country.

Libya's interim government said in a statement that the fire could trigger a "humanitarian and environmental disaster" in Tripoli, and appealed for "international help" to extinguish the inferno.

The blaze spread to a second depot on Monday afternoon, the government said.

It was unclear if there were any injuries from the fire.

Deadliest violence

Libya has descended into its deadliest violence since the 2011 war that ousted Moammer Gadhafi, with the central government unable to impose order amid a climate of political and security instability that is affecting citizen's access to necessities.

Most gas stations in Tripoli have been closed since fighting erupted between rival militias fighting for control of the Libyan capital's airport.

Hundreds of cars have been left for days in huge lines at different petrol stations waiting for fuel, Reuters reported.    

“The holidays are here and people want to enjoy Eid, but they can not. They want to go out and shop for Eid, but they don't have one drop of petrol,” Mohammed Algiriani, a Tripoli resident told Reuters on Saturday.

Monday marked the start of Eid al-Fitr in Libya and across much of the Muslim world.

The holiday is Islam's biggest annual celebration at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, celebrated with large family gatherings around traditional food and special desserts, family outings and wearing new clothes.

But in Libya, many families have been unable to enjoy Eid this year.    

At least 36 people were killed in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi where Libyan Special Forces and Islamist militants clashed on Saturday night and Sunday morning, medical and security sources said.

The government said more than 150 people died, many of them civilian, in the capital Tripoli and Benghazi in two weeks of fighting as clashes forced U.S. and foreign diplomats to pull out of the country.

The National Oil Corporation (NOC) in Libya said in a statement the gasoline crisis was mainly a security problem and was not caused by a lack of supplies.

Marwan, a Tunisian worker at Abustah Gas Station in Tripoli, said there was enough petrol.

“Petrol is available, but it is the way citizens are dealing with it. When people fill their cars, they fill up for four, five, six or seven days,” he said.

“Let the crisis pass because there is petrol. Libya is the world's third largest producer of petrol, so how is it possible not to have petrol? If it is short on petrol, then it is because of someone's creation,” Marwan added.

Security groups

Libya's fragile government, with no strong standing army of its own and hamstrung by political infighting, is struggling to impose order on the vast North African OPEC oil producer whose turmoil threatens to spill over its borders.

In Tripoli, the government has sanctioned civil defense units to stand in for protecting citizens.

The “Joint Security Room” is one such group.

“We provide protection without any problems. The force protecting the station can come, but there will be gun fire, you know it is not a secret everyone has bullets at home and we don't want anyone to get killed at the station. Some people sabotage the process by breaking the fuel pipes, blocking the barrels or breaking their gas meters,” a member of the group who refused to identify himself said.

Meanwhile, Libya's oil production fell last week, eroding increases since April in revenue for the state after officials managed to negotiate an end to a blockade of vital oil ports.

A spokesman for the National Oil Corporation said production July 21 had been at 450,000 barrels per day down from 555,000 bpd a few days earlier, partly because El-Feel oilfield had reduced output due to the clashes in Tripoli.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid