By Libya Herald reporters.
Benghazi, 13 August 2016:
The army’s 153 Infantry Brigade today moved into Zuetina but stopped short of entering the oil terminal which is controlled by the Petroleum Facilities Guard headed by Ibrahim Jadhran.
A long four-lane-wide convoy of assorted military and civilian vehicles moved slowly into the town. Footage posted by the army showed flag-waving locals apparently giving the soldiers an enthusiastic welcome.
There were no reports of any response from PFG forces in the terminal.
On Thursday, the French, German, Italian, Spanish, UK and US governments issued a joint warning that they were increasingly concerned at the rising tensions at Zuetina.
They called on all parties to refrain from hostilities and avoid any action that could damage or disrupt the country’s energy infrastructure. They also insisted that Zuetina, along with all other export terminals, should be handed over to the Government of National Accord.
In a move that surprised those who thought he was dedicated to an autonomous Cyrenaica, the former federalist Jadhran this March announced his support for the GNA. His guards shut the terminal last November and apparently repelled a seaborne attack by IS in January.
The export terminal is a key source of employment in the town. There has long been tension between locals and the PFG and other outsiders who have often mounted protests that stopped tankers from loading. Three years ago, townspeople became so fed up with yet another disruption that they stormed the port and forced it to resume operations.