Forces from the Libyan National Army — which are loyal to military commander Khalifa Haftar in the east of Libya — have entered Zueitina, the coastal Libyan town that is home to the Zueitina Oil Company. The troops have established a presence about 6 miles (10 km) from the city’s oil terminal, according to Bloomberg.
A spokesperson for the forces said that military preparations are underway to attack the port, according to The Libya Observer. Bloomberg reported that the troops arrived to cheers.
The port is currently controlled by the Petroleum Forces Guard that are linked to the Government of National Accord (GNA), the government based out of Tripoli. The GNA are backed by the United Nations.
An attempt by Haftar to take the Zueitina port would be self-destructive, according to Zeid Ragas, an independent analyst based in Benghazi that was interviewed by Bloomberg.
“The move was made by Haftar to widen his control on the ground and overcome achievements made by the GNA across the country,” Ragas said. “But with warnings by the international community and tribes in the area, any action is going to be suicidal.”
Last week, six western countries released a statement to support the GNA in finding a peaceful solution to the disruptions affecting energy exports in Libya.