UNSMIL condemns violent obstructions of the man-made river

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya strongly condemned the violent actions that obstructed the flow of water to most of the country

Last week, armed intruders forced the eastern branch of the Man-Made River to shut, cutting off water supplies to a significant part of the nation. [Photo: Archive]

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya strongly criticized the interruption of water supply from the industrial Man-Made River.

The mission started in today’s announcement that armed actors forced the Man-Made River’s eastern branch to close. The shutdown jeopardizes the water security of millions of Libyans and risks sparking a humanitarian catastrophe.

It also noted that any impediment to essential infrastructures, such as the Man-Made River, is a violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, and is more heinous when done to extract political concessions.

According to the Mission’s statement, these unjustifiable actions represent a kind of collective punishment of people, and all offenders must be punished to the full extent of the law.

UNSMIL emphasized that access to water and water supplies should not be politicized and urged all players to act in the best interests of the nation and all Libyans to guarantee the rapid restoration of water delivery and the respect preservation of its infrastructure.

The Man-Made River Project Authority said that it is awaiting instructions from the relevant authorities to handle the problem of water pumping halting.

“At the present, we are awaiting instructions from the appropriate State authorities to handle the problem of shutting off the water system into the capital, Tripoli,” said Salah Saadi, Director of the Authority’s Information Office, to the Libyan news agency (LANA).

Al-Saadi said that addressing the problem was the duty of the State’s appropriate authorities. According to him, the River Authority was in charge of the system’s and its personnel’s property.

According to the River Authority, water flows into all towns and villages along the Al-Sahawnah system’s pathways – the Al-Jufra Plain – was stopped when armed men seized the Al-Shuwerf control station and the Al-Sahawnah pumping station.

According to the GMR Authority, following the break-in on August 11, negotiations with the armed group were held, and an agreement was reached to postpone the pumping for 72 hours to communicate with State actors to implement their demand for the release of former regime intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi.

According to the statement, “on 13 August, the Group requested that water be stopped from the Sahawnah – Al-Jufra system since the competent authorities had not responded to their request, and if they did not react, the pumping would be terminated by force.”

According to the Man-Made River Project Authority, the system was shut down “to ensure the safety of its employees, since it is a civil national organization working hard to secure more than 70% of Libyan cities, and to preserve the system’s components from vandalism.”

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