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Oil company manager kidnapped, perpetrators still unknown

A manager for Mellitah Oil and Gas in Libya was kidnapped Sunday while travelling between Tripoli and Sabratha, leaving many wondering who is responsible and rousing other Mellitah staff into a protest.

Yusuf Al-Shamani, a manager for Mellitah, was taken by a gang of individuals en route between the two cities, according to the Libya Herald. Authorities have been unable to determine who exactly is behind the kidnapping, as a myriad of competing factions have been actively disrupting Libya’s oil and gas industry, including the Islamic State.

Employees working for Mellitah publicly denounced the incident, using it as a platform to express demands for greater safety measures and better protection for workers. Staff also staged a protest in front of the National Oil Corp. headquarters in Tripoli, holding the government responsible and demanding it make every effort to ensure Shamani is recovered safely.

Mellitah said in a statement that it does not know the whereabouts of Shamani or his captors but hopes that the responsible party will make contact with the company. It is common practice in parts of Africa for rebel groups to capture oil and gas workers, among others, and use ransom demands to fund their activities.

Mellitah Oil and Gas B.V. is a joint venture between the National Oil Corp. and Eni North Africa. The company’s assets include wells in the Wafa and El Feel oilfields, as well as an export complex in western Libya.

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