Officials from both the Libyan government and the Khums municipality have denied the claims regarding a shutdown of the Khums commercial port for a handover to foreign military use.
The mayor of Khums Municipality, Ali Al-Deeb, said in an interview with Libya Alahrar TV, that the citizens’ protest against the rumored decision to annex the port to the naval military base was due to the Libyan Coast Guard’s letter urging the port to be evacuated from bulldozers, which led to a misunderstanding by the workers. Al-Deeb added that discussions concerning the city’s seaport are intended to regulate the movement of ships and bulldozers, in addition to development work.
The mayor pointed out that the seaport serves a large segment of the locals in the city, pointing out that the municipality has formed a committee to communicate with local stakeholders. Al-Deeb stressed that the new measures in the port will be convincing to the protesters, especially with regard to the expansion works.
The spokesman for the government, Mohammed Hammouda, added in a press conference from inside the port, that the government has not and will not study or discuss the issue of handing over the port or annexing it to the naval military base, denying claims of the Libyan state’s concession of the seaport of Khums in favor of foreign parties, stressing that this news is baseless and aims to mislead public opinion. Hammouda called on all media outlets to commit to distributing information from reliable and responsible sources only.
The Ports Authority confirmed that the port of Khums operates and handles all kinds of ships and goods 24 hours a day, denying the rumors of the port closing. The authority noted in a statement that directed to all shipping agencies that the port is operating normally and continues to handle all vessels, including container ships.
Earlier this month, workers in the port, as well as locals from the city of Khums, organized a protest, rejecting the decision to vacate the port in favor of the military naval base, following correspondence from the commander of the Khums Coast Guard point to the manager of the port requiring the evacuation of the port and the exit of all bulldozers and ships.
Source: Libya Alahrar TV