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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey 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.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid