Government of National Accord (GNA) officials announced on Tuesday, November 24, that additional security forces have been deployed around the National Oil Corporation (NOC) offices in central Tripoli following a failed attempt to occupy the building by an unidentified armed group. The incident on Monday afternoon, November 23, saw a number of armed individuals attempt to storm the building and break through perimeter fencing after blocking Sikka Road with several vehicles. However, the attack was reportedly thwarted by members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) militia assigned to defend the site, who were able to prevent the gunmen from entering the building after being reinforced by PFG guards from the nearby Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior. It is currently unclear whether any weapons were fired during the incident, but no significant casualties or damage were reported.
Localized disruptions are likely in the area around the NOC headquarters in the near term due to the increased security presence.
The circumstances behind Monday's incident and the group involved are currently unclear, but the assault is believed to be linked to a dispute over the release of oil revenue currently held in a private Libyan bank account to the Libyan Central Bank. Threats against senior NOC officials were also reported to have circulated online in the hours prior to the incident. The agreement that all oil revenue would be held by the Libyan Foreign Bank was a key aspect of the agreement which facilitated the resumption of oil production, with funds only to be released to the Libyan Central Bank once a unity government was in place.
Those in Tripoli are advised to exercise increased caution in the area around the NOC headquarters and should heed any directives issued by local authorities and security forces.
The security environment in Libya remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas (with appropriate security protocols in place), other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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