Libya: army at Eni complex,jihadists against European school

Gas exports towards Gela suspended

04 March, 11:17

Eni's Mellitah complex in Libya Eni's Mellitah complex in Libya

(ANSAmed) - ROME - Libya is once again forced to deal with its instability. Eni had to stop gas exports to Italy and renewed tensions were registered in Benghazi after armed jihadist militants surrounded the European school accusing teachers of pornography.

The clashes between rival militias last Saturday near Eni's Mellitah complex forced the suspension of gas exports to Gela, in Sicily. The government's mediation led to an immediate ceasefire and security forces sent by the defence ministry took over control of the complex. Gas supplies are expected to resume soon though it is still unclear when exactly this will happen.

'At least 48 hours will be necessary', said a local official.

The suspension of supplies, high Libyan officials explained, also caused problems in Wafa, where Italy's energy giant Eni has another complex, and in Sabratha. Some 8 billion cubic metres of gas are pumped from Mellitah through the Greenstream pipeline.

Libya provides 10% of Italy's gas supplies.

Clashes erupted on Saturday between militants with the Zintan and Zuara brigades, both seeking to control the management of security at the complex. At least one person died and several were wounded, including two workers at Mellitah, according to unconfirmed reports. The government cracked down on the disruption: 'The main threat against stability in Libya is constituted by those who refuse to hand over weapons and use them for their personal interests', said Libyan premier Ali Zeidan, warning militias that if they will not make themselves available to the government they will be dissolved.

Everybody in Libya has weapons except for the government in a paradox which the cabinet hopes to stop by pushing the UN to lift the embargo. The government hopes to be able to sign new military contracts, also with Italy.

But while Zeidan was speaking at a press conference, new clashes were recorded in Mizdah, south of Tripoli, causing an unspecified number of casualties and injuries.

Meanwhile in Cyrenaica, growing religious tensions are causing great concern. On Sunday in Benghazi, jihadists with Ansar al-Sharia, the group held responsible for the assault on the US diplomatic compound in which Ambassador Chris Stevens died, surrounded the European school in the city, accusing teachers of pornography. The school gave students a book on sexual education featuring scientific illustrations which were considered unacceptable by the extremists. The demonstration did not result in any damage and staff members 'are fine', a sources close to the teachers told ANSA.(ANSAmed).

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