Tuesday, 14 May 2013
BP and British Embassy pull staff as bombing hits Benghazi
The FCO and BP have both withdrawn staff from their operations in Libya in the last week, in response to uncertainty regarding the North African country's political and security situation. The British Embassy in Tripoli on Friday 10 May 2013 announced that a “small number” of staff who work in the Libyan ministries were being repatriated. Following the Embassy's example, and heeding advice given to them by the FCO, BP also announced that it was withdrawing a “small number” of non-essential staff as a “precautionary measure”.
The announcements come amid growing tensions in Libya. In recent weeks, a number of militias have besieged the foreign and justice ministries in the capital, seeking to ensure the Political Exclusion Law, an act preventing previous members of Qadhafi's government from taking office, is passed. Wanting a clean start to politics in post-revolutionary Libya, the rebels desire political office removed of the contemporaries of the man they fought to oust, however, the Law's opponents argue that these isolation provisions will deprive the country of substantial political and administrative know-how.
There have also been several bombings of police stations, the French Embassy and, most recently, of a hospital in Benghazi, one of a string of attacks in the eastern city. The car bomb struck the Jalaa hospital on 13 May 2013, killing nine and injuring dozens. It is the first such attack against civilian target, such as a hospital, in recent memory.
In January 2011, BP evacuated more than 400 staff from numerous locations inside Libya in response to the uprising that ousted Qadhafi from power. Despite this action, BP's largely offshore operations were mostly unaffected. At the same time, the British Embassy also evacuated its staff for two months.
© 2013 Menas Associates