Libyan ex-rebels lift main oil refinery blockade

AFP , Friday 30 Nov 2012

Former Libyan rebels have lifted their blockade of the country's biggest oil refinery, after closing it off to demand medical treatment for injuries from last year's war, the facility's head said on Friday.

"The sit-in held by protesters since Wednesday ended on Thursday night around 11:00 pm (2200 GMT)," said Imed bin Kura, adding that it would take several hours to get the facility up and running again.A settlement was reached after authorities agreed to speed up sending to other countries ex-rebels wounded in the war to unseat long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi, he said.

Witnesses said around 20 persons had been blocking the facility.The refinery in Zawiyah, 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Tripoli, supplies around 70 percent of the country's fuel.

A similar four-day protest there at the start of November cost the government $30 million (23 million euros), according to the oil ministry.On Thursday there were already queues forming at petrol stations in Tripoli, although Kura had said there was no danger of a fuel shortage.

He said Libya had imported a large quantity of fuel in the past few weeks.Due to poor conditions in hospitals, Libyans often try to get medical treatment abroadA programme put in place by the government to treat former rebels abroad was stopped after it was abused.

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