Libyan militia commander accuses US of piracy

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Associated Press

Posted on March 18, 2014 at 8:32 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 18 at 11:03 AM

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — A militia commander controlling Libya's oil terminals denounced the seizure by U.S. commandos of a tanker that his militia was using to try to export oil in defiance of the country's central government, calling its capture "piracy."

Ibrahim Jedran, who is part of a movement demanding autonomy for eastern Libya, accused Washington of supporting authorities in the capital, Tripoli, who he said were dominated by Islamists. Speaking in a televised statement, he said the central government is ignoring the aspirations of the east, where the public has long complained of marginalization and discrimination by Tripoli.

Jedran demanded the U.S. free three eastern Libyans who were aboard the tanker when it was seized late Sunday. He warned that if the men are handed over to Tripoli, it risks "civil war."

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