By Libya Herald reporter.
Tripoli, 27 October 2017:
After more than a week of the water supply to the capital being deliberately cut off by a southern armed group, the city centre is still without water, although parts of the the eastern suburb of Suq Al-Juma locals reported water back in the taps this afternoon. However, officials say that this has nothing to do with the main supply which comes from the Man-Made River (MMR).
Last week a group of gunmen from Brak Al-Shatti turned of the valves on the MMR in an attempt to force the Rada Special Deterrence forces in Tripoli to release their leader, Mabrouk Ahnish, who had been captured in the Wirshefana district west of the capital. They have since set fire to the control room at the Shewerif substation controlling the power suuuply to the MMR pumps in the area. Last Sunday they also briefly closed the road between Tripoli and Sebha.
Many of Tripoli’s suburbs are largely unaffected by the blockade as most people there rely on wells for their supply. The crisis has, in fact, led to a rush to have wells dug in the city. The price is now LD 4,000 to dig a well, although no one can be assured that the water found is drinkable. It many cases it can be used only for washing and in toilets, but even that is a great relief to city residents for whom the blockade is a major disaster.
Efforts to get the water reconnected this week included using detained Qaddafi spymaster Abdullah Senussi to try and persuade the culprits, who are from his own Magarha tribe to reconnect the supply. He is reported to have has spoken to Magarha elders and others in the south who promised to ensure that the supply was restored.
Ironically, the MMR water supply to Tripoli was cut off by the same Magarha elders in 2013 when Senussi’s daughter Anoud was seized allegedly by a unit of the then SSC (the Supreme Security Committee) headed by Haithem Tajouri. In that case there was a space of about four days between the valves being turned back on and the water running in the taps in Tripoli.
The Libyan National Army’s major General Mohamed Ben Nayel is also reported saying that his forces based in Brak Al-Shatti were in control of MMR sites and that generators were being used to get the pumps working again.
It has not been announced how serious is the damage to the substation or how long it would take to get it repaired.
The MMR company had, in any event, been carrying out major maintenance works on the station at Shwerif which feeds the Hasawna water fields, but these were said somedays ago to have been completed.