Libyan ex-rebels block access to main oil refinery

TRIPOLI -- Former Libyan rebels have blocked access to the country's biggest oil refinery, demanding medical treatment for injuries from last year's conflict, the facility's head said Thursday.

"A sit-in by those injured [during the revolution that ousted Moammar Gadhafi] in front of the refinery prevented workers from entering" the plant, said Imed bin Kura.

Witnesses said around 20 former rebels had been blocking the facility since late Wednesday.

The refinery in Zawiyah, 40 kilometers west of Tripoli, supplies around 70% of the country's fuel, and a similar four-day protest there at the start of November cost the government $30 million, according to the oil ministry.

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 last few weeks.

Due to poor conditions in hospitals, Libyans often try to get medical treatment abroad.

A program put in place by the government to treat former rebels abroad was stopped after it was abused.

Dow Jones Newswires

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