Libya warns companies against buying oil, government to stop paying local militias
Libya's militias will no longer receive payments from the government after December 31st unless they enroll in the country's official security forces (Mahmud Turkia/AFP)
Libya's government announced Wednesday that it will stop paying armed groups from the 2011 uprisings and urged oil companies not to enter deals with terminals controlled by militia in the east of the country, according to Agence France-Presse and the Associated Press.
AFP reported that Libya's government will halt payments to the armed groups unless they enlist in the government's official security forces by the end of the year. "The government will stop paying any premium or reward [to the militias] after December 31st, [a deadline] for the dissolution of the armed groups and their integration into the army or the police," according to the statement. Militias were further urged to "resolve their situation" in order for the Libyan government to "take [them] into account" for next year's budget allocations.
The militias have previously been lauded and hailed as heroes in the country for toppling the Gaddafi regime in 2011. Many were given security roles and positions at borders, prisons, and related facilities. However, militias who once were united from their collective efforts to overthrow Gaddafi are now more divided than ever, often clashing over ideological and motivational differences. The government often cites the tensions between the militias as one of the main root causes for the country's instability. The militias has largely refused to turn in their weapons or join national security forces, and often clash with other militias and government forces in efforts to control various territories throughout the country.
Earlier this year, a group of militia men seized the justice and foreign ministries in the country's capital for nearly two weeks in an effort to stall legislation that would allow officials from Gaddafi's regime to serve in official posts in the future.
In related news, Libya's government further warned oil companies to stop making purchases from the country's eastern terminals that are controlled by local militias. The government described such transactions as "a blatant violation [of Libyan sovereignty], a crime [punishable by law]."
According to the AP report, the government has a list of companies who have attempted to buy oil from the eastern terminals and is monitoring their activities accordingly.
Libya's air and naval forces have further been instructed to "confront any vessels (violating the order) with force, arrest and detention."
Since militias took over the terminals this past summer, Libya's oil production has significantly declined from 1.4 million to only a few hundred thousand barrels a day.
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