Libya’s NOC says Russian mercenaries backing up Haftar’s forces enter Sharara oilfield

Sharara oilfield in Libya is one of the largest in the country. [Photo: Reuters]
Russian and other foreign mercenaries have entered Libya’s largest oil field – Sharara – the country’s National Oil Corporation said Friday, describing the development as an attempt to thwart the resumption of halted oil production in Libya.

The Russian mercenaries first met late Thursday with the guards of Libya’s vast southwestern Sharara oil field, controlled by Haftar’s fighters, according to a statement from the NOC.

Earlier this year, a force known as the Petroleum Facilities Guard, which takes orders from Haftar’s forces, helped shut down oil production when Haftar-allied tribes led a blockade of Libya’s oil ports.

“While foreign mercenaries continue to be paid vast sums of money to prevent the NOC from carrying out its essential duties, the rest of the Libyan population suffers,” said Mustafa Sanalla, the NOC chairman.

Sanalla lamented the loss of oil revenues and the “disastrous decay of our oil infrastructure” due to the shutdown, which is preventing maintenance work at facilities.

“It is noteworthy that many countries are themselves benefiting from the absence of Libyan oil from global markets,” said Sanalla, adding that ome states are “working in the background to support blockading forces,” in reference to Russia.

The US Embassy in Libya condemned the occupation of the oil field by Wagner and other foreign mercenaries as part of “an unprecedented foreign-backed campaign to undermine Libya’s energy sector.”

Foreign powers meddling in oil-rich Libya are holding the country’s lucrative resources “hostage,” the embassy said, while ordinary Libyans continue to suffer from a crumbling economy.

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