03:37 GMT19 January 2021
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    So far, the National Oil Corporation has tried to stay neutral in conflict-torn Libya, where most of the territory is split between the two major groups, the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and the Libyan National Army, acting on behalf of the Libyan House of Representatives.

    An unidentified armed group has deployed forces outside the main office of Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) in Tripoli and tried to enter the building, according to several local news outlets, including al-Wasat and Libya 24. The group has blocked the road leading to the NOC's headquarters with vehicles, Reuters reported, citing anonymous sources in the city and the country's oil industry.

    The company later said in a statement that the oil facilities guard protecting the HQ had managed to repel an intrusion attempt by an unknown "armed gang". According to the NOC, the company requested reinforcements from the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Interior, which helped it fend off the attackers without significant material damages or casualties.

    The NOC linked the attempted intrusion to threats that senior company officials have been receiving lately, adding that a report about the incident had been submitted to the attorney general for investigation. The oil company did not elaborate on the nature of the mentioned threats.

    Neutrality of Oil Company Amid Domestic Conflict

    The reported blockade of the NOC's HQ comes amid a continuing spat between the company and Libya's Tripoli-based central bank. The NOC refused to transfer funds obtained from the sale of oil to the bank until Libya’s domestic crisis is resolved, citing a lack of transparency on the central bank's end when it comes to spending the country's oil money.

    The National Oil Corporation insists on remaining impartial in the ongoing domestic crisis in Libya as the country remains divided between several power groups following the killing of its former leader Muamar Gadhafi by opposition forces supported by Western countries. The UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) with its capital in Tripoli and the Libyan National Army (LNA) acting on behalf of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives are the two main powers struggling in the conflict. The LNA announced in September 2020 the that it had resumed oil extraction on its territory and unlocked its oil-exporting ports after spending over a year attempting to seize GNA-controlled Tripoli.

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    Tags:
    armed groups, Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), Libyan National Army (LNA), Libyan war, Libya
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