from AHMED ZAYED in Tripoli, Libya
TRIPOLI, (CAJ News) – LIBYAN rebel groups have cut off supplies of water and electricity to more than 2 million people in the capital, Tripoli, in order to settle disputes.
The water supply, part of the Great Man-Made River, was disrupted by a group in the Shwerif area as a pressure tactic to secure the release of family members.
A week later, all mediation efforts until now do not seem to have produced a resolution to the dispute while millions of Libyans remain deprived of water.
More than 600 000 children are affected by the cutting off of supplies.
Yacoub El Hillo, humanitarian coordinator for Libya, deplored the use of water as a pressure card or as a weapon of war.
“It is particularly reprehensible to deliberately cut off water supplies from people anywhere in Libya,” the envoy said.
The water cut coincides with a serious power outage in the western region of Tripoli, also imposed as a result of another individual dispute.
El Hillo said at this moment when Libya was fighting the threats of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, access to water and electricity were more than ever lifesaving.
“Such individual acts to collectively punish millions of innocent people are abhorrent and must stop immediately,” he said.
Libya, the North African country of 6,85 million people, has suffered instability since the overthrow and murder of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
After tensions eased over the years, skirmishes were renewed last April when the rebel Libya National Army (LNA) launched ongoing attacks against the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord.
Over 350 people have been killed and 149 000 displaced since the onslaught.
– CAJ News