An unmanned Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone crashed in the vicinity of Benghazi, Libya, earlier this week, prompting an investigation by US Africa Command, officials confirmed Wednesday. In a statement provided to Military Times, US AFRICOM spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Pietrack said that the “aircraft was operating in support of U.S. Ambassador and Special Envoy to Libya Richard Norland’s diplomatic engagements” when it crashed. Pietrack added that the aircraft’s operation schedule had already been “coordinated with the appropriate Libyan authorities. … We do not have any further information at this time.” It remains unclear whether the drone crash was the result of enemy fire, though there are reports it was shot down by eastern-based Libyan forces. Read more from Military Times.
Originally from Benghazi, the stronghold of Khalifa Haftar, NOC Chairman Farhat Bengadra is reputed to be close to Gaddafi’s former military cadre but also to the United Arab Emirates, where he was director of Al Masraf Bank. After having ensured the revival of oil production, the former banker, at the helm of Libya’s National Oil Corporation since 14 July, wants to double the pace. His objective? To go from 1.2 million to 3 million barrels per day. To avoid any confrontation with the Libyan tribes, Bengdara has played his company’s “social responsibility” card. He says he is open to discussion and ready to implement tribal demands in terms of health, environmental and agricultural services. He has reiterated this commitment: “The National Oil Company will remain outside all personal and political rivalries.” Read more from the Africa Report.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced its cooperation with the General Electricity Company in Libya (GECOL) to develop an operational plan aimed at stabilizing the Libyan grid. The plan also aims at aligning the Libyan grid with the Libyan Emergency Network Stabilization Program, as part of an international multi-donor initiative. According to the USAID statement, the plan targets fair and equitable electricity distribution at the municipal level. Electricity will be cut off “fairly” for short and limited periods. As well as negotiations with the top consumers to divide their activity in off-peak hours. Read more from the Libya Observer.