TRIPOLI, Sixteen soldiers of Libya's eastern-based army were killed and 20 others were injured on Thursday in clashes after which they recaptured two oil ports from a rival militia group.

"The emergency department received 16 bodies and more than 20 injured today as a result of the clashes in the oil crescent region," a hospital source in Ajdabiya city, told Xinhua news agency.

"More than 50 militants from the rival militia group were killed. The bodies are expected to be recovered by the Red Crescent teams in the coming hours," the source said.

Ajdabiya is less than 100 km away from the oil crescent region where several key oil ports are located.

Led by Gen Khalifa Haftar, the eastern-based army or the Libyan National Army (LNA) announced on Thursday that they had recaptured the oil ports of Ras Lanuf and Es Sidra.

The strongman of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi took control of most of eastern Libya in a civil war. The LNA which he commands is opposed to the UN-backed government in Tripoli.

The Benghazi Defence Brigade militant group launched attacks on oil installations in the oil crescent region last week, resulting in clashes with the LNA.

State-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC) had evacuated all employees from the area. The conflict caused a loss of 240,000 barrels of oil and an "environmental disaster" due to damage to the oil tanks.

Meanwhile, the UN Mission in Libya condemned the attack, saying "This dangerous escalation puts Libya's economy in jeopardy and risks igniting a widespread confrontation.

Source: Nam News Network