May 5, 2011
Police officers in riot gear and armed with wooden staves have been manning fuel pumps at a petrol station in Tripoli as long queues of cars caused traffic chaos in western Libya, amid fears that the Gaddafi regime is running out of its most precious commodity.
Queues of vehicles, sometimes five or six deep, stretched up to half a kilometre from some petrol stations last week, most of which are shut behind makeshift barriers. Two men in a queue near the city of Zuwara said they had been waiting for five days in the hope of a fresh delivery.
At the few stations around the capital, where cars were inching forward, armed soldiers and police attempted to keep order as motorists and pedestrians carrying containers jostled to get served. Fights sometimes break out, according to locals.
The Libyan government has blamed the fuel crisis on its own “mismanagement of distribution”. But deputy foreign minister Khaled Kaim also accused the international community of “trying to starve the Libyan people by cutting all supplies to 5.2 million people in the south and the west of the country”.
This article was posted: Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 3:32 am