Sudanese Army Seizes Southern Libyan Town – 400 Miles Into Libya
This wasn’t part of the plan, was it?
Kufrah is a gateway to the oilfields in southern Libya. (Welt)
The Sudanese army has seized a town in southern Libya that is the gateway to oilfields crucial to rebel hopes of establishing financial independence.
Officials overseeing the no-fly zone enforced by Nato over Libya said the Sudanese move north of border had not encountered resistance from troops loyal to Col Muammar Gaddafi.
Since the February uprising against his regime, the Libyan leader’s forces have been concentrated around Tripoli, the capital; Sirte, the eastern town that is Col Gaddafi’s birthplace and Sebha, the desert outpost where the dictator grew up.
Officials said control of the town of Kufra and nearby military base granted the Sudanese a key strategic foothold between the regime and the opposition Transitional National Council (TNC) which holds the eastern seaboard and a series of rebel enclaves.
The Sudanese have not disrupted efforts to resume oil production on nearby southern oilfields.
“Our surveillance shows that they are not moving oil, so its not about money in the short term,” said one Western official. “The commercial oil companies monitoring is reporting that there has been no movement of oil out of Libya.
But the Sudanese clearly now have a stake in Libya re-emerging in the oil market.
“The Gaddafi army was coming in and taking out the oilfields every time the rebels start pumping oil. They’ve dismantled the fields quite carefully so the rebels need security down there. Clearly there needs to be tribal support but the Sudanese could make it too risky for Gaddafi’s intervention as well.”
The last attack on the Mislah and Sarir oilfields took place on June 12, just days before the deployment of Sudanese forces to Kufra.
Rebel spokesmen said they hoped to produce up to 250,000 barrels per day from the oilfields and pump it along a pipeline to the Marsa al-Haringa depot near Tobruk.