By Jamie Prentis.
Tunis, 17 January 2016:
Municipal councils in Fezzan have declared the deteriorating living conditions in the region a disaster today and attacked the Presidency Council’s supposed lack of concern about the south. Demanding greater protection and support, their statement came after a meeting in Sebha to find ways of resolving the continued power outages that have wreaked havoc across the south for over a week.
Protests in the town were held today to mark a week of power cuts in the area, with other places in the south experiencing blackouts nearing ten days. The added shortages of petrol and cooking gas, not to mention soaring crime levels, have made life a nightmare for most people in the region. Such is the state of affairs that tribal elders in Fezzan are reported thinking of breaking off all relations with Tripoli unless the Presidency Council and its government of national accord take a greater interest in conditions in the south.
In fact, today Presidency Council head Faiez Serraj held discussions with his deputies from the south, Abdul-Salam Kajman and Ahmed Hamza, to try and figure out a solution to the widespread power outages and the other problems.
The municipalities meanwhile have also criticised the lack of progress at the nearby Obari power plant and underlined the urgent need to complete it in order to help sustain the region’s energy needs. They also underlined the need for repairs to commence on power lines that have been brought down and for greater protection of energy interests in the region.
Last night the mayor of Brak Al-Shatti, Nassir Saeed Salim, told the Libya Herald that the Government of National Accord (GNA) “must be serious” about the completing the power station. He said this was the simplest and easiest step the government could take in order to prevent further suffering to the region. He blamed Third Force militias for preventing the delivery of fuel supplies into the Brak Al-Shatti.
Yesterday, members of the House of Representatives (HoR) from the south suspended their membership in protest at the situation in Fezzan and perceived lack of interest.
Meanwhile, a peace deal between the Wirshefana and militias in Zawia over a stolen truckload of tobacco that resulted in 90 Zawians being abducted and other Zawians then turning off the gas supply to the local power station has raised hopes that Libya’s current electricity shortages may be near an end. That would at least ease some the problems in the south, although the power outages there are only part of the region’s difficulties.