Libya facing drinking water shortage after armed group’s sabotage threats

A large part of Libya has been without drinking water since Saturday, August 14. An armed group broke into the country’s main water supply center demanding the release of Abdallah al-Senoussi, Muammar Gaddafi’s brother-in-law and a senior official in the former regime.

The committee managing the network control center of the great artificial river – Gaddafi’s flagship project created 30 years ago to supply 70 per cent of Libya’s cities with drinking water pumped from groundwater – has cut off the water. The committee said armed men have threatened to destroy the station’s infrastructure.

After 72 hours, the committee decided to cut off the water for fear of “sabotage” and to “guarantee the safety of its employees.” The committee called on the authorities to take responsibility. Since Saturday, there has been no official reaction. Mediation is reportedly underway.

Last Thursday, armed men forced their way into the place, threatening to blow it up if they did not get their way. They demanded the release of Abdallah al-Senoussi, a former key figure in the deposed regime. He has been in prison in Tripoli since 2012, when he was extradited from Mauritania, where he had taken refuge after the fall of the regime. The authorities sentenced him to death in 2015, in a trial denounced by the UN.

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