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Libyan militia threatens to cut gas deliveries

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ESAM MOHAMED | December 29, 2013 12:51 PM EST | AP

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TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — A spokesman for a Libyan militia that shut down most of the country's oil terminals for months has threatened to close off natural gas deliveries to the capital in a serious escalation in its standoff with the central government.

The spokesman, who did not identify himself, said in a recorded statement aired Sunday on local television stations that the government has 48 hours to resume paying salaries to the group, which was originally in charge of securing oil and gas facilities in the country's east.

The natural gas is essential for power plants in Tripoli and in the rest of the country.

Since this summer, the group has shut down the oil terminals, demanded greater autonomy and a larger share of oil revenues for the region.

The government had since stopped paying the militia's salaries and threatened to use force to restore the flow of oil exports, seriously cutting into government revenues.