Libyan Ex-Rebels Lift Refinery Blockade

Former Libyan rebels have lifted their blockade of the country's biggest oil refinery, Zawiyah [Zawiya, Zawia, Azzawia, Azzawiya] , after closing it off to demand medical treatment for injuries from last year's war.

Imed bin Kura, the facility's head, said on Friday that the sit-in held by protesters since Wednesday ended on Thursday night around 11:00 pm (2200 GMT), 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 the sending of wounded ex-rebels to other countries.

According to Reuters, the Zawiya refinery, about 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli, has a capacity of 120,000 bpd and provides 40 per cent of western Libya's oil needs; AFP, on the other hand, says it supplies around 70 percent of the country's fuel.

A similar protest there in early November cost the government $30 million.

(Sources: AFP, Reuters)

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