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Water supplies to Libya's capital returns, following 'Haftar outage'

Over a million Tripoli residents were at risk of having their water supply cut off[AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 21 May, 2019

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The attack on a water distribution agency 250 miles south of Tripoli put the water supply of millions at risk. The gunmen claim to be supporters of rogue-general Khalifa Haftar.

Authorities say the Libyan capital, which has been under attack by General Khalifa Haftar's forces since last month, has seen its water supplies resume two days after gunmen shut the pipes down, putting the water supplies of over 2 million residents at risk.

Gunmen stormed the offices of a water distribution agency that runs a network of underground pipelines providing the region and the capital with water, the interior ministry said on Sunday.

The gunmen proceeded to shut the station of the Great Man-Made River Project, which carries ground water from the Sahara, at gunpoint.

The ministry said the gunmen demanded the Tripoli-based government release their leader Khalifa Ahnish's brother, jailed for belonging to an outlawed group.

The UN humanitarian coordinator, Maria Ribeiro, condemned the attack and said that such actions "may be considered war crimes".

The water distribution agency says water supplies to Tripoli resumed on Tuesday, without elaborating.

The group responsible for the attack claimed to be supporters of Haftar, who controls the east and south of Libya, but some have claimed the group acted independently, The Guardian reported.

Citizens of Tripoli and surrounding areas were not immediately affected as there two days of reserves for the capital.

Khalifa Haftar and his Libya National Army (LNA) launched an offensive on Tripoli in early April but are held back in the southern suburbs where they have encountered fierce fighting by forces loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

Amnesty International has accused forces loyal to rogue Libyan General Khalifa Haftar of committing possible war crimes in the Libyan capital Tripoli.

Earlier this month, Haftar rejected UN calls for a ceasefire, urging his troops to "wipe out" forces loyal to the government during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Over 450 people have been killed and 2,000 injured in Haftar's assault on Tripoli, according to the World Health Organisation.

His forces, which have received support from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, are trying to unseat the internationallyrecognised Government of National Accord of Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj.

Approximately 70,000 people have been forced to flee their homes due to the assault.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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