Libyan armed group cuts off water to Tripoli residents
The UN's humanitarian coordinator to Libya, Yacoub Hillo, called the forced stoppage "particularly reprehensible", demanding that the water supply resume immediately.
On Monday, an armed group stormed a water control station at Shwerif in Libya. The group's fighters threatened workers and forced them to turn off the supply to Tripoli, according to a statement by the Great Man Made River Project, one of Libya's main providers of water.
Hillo said that the armed group is using the water cutoff as means to gain the release of family members in detention.
"At this moment when Libya is fighting the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to water and electricity is more than ever life-saving, and such individual acts to collectively punish millions of innocent people are abhorrent and must stop immediately," Hillo added.
Libya's General Electricity Company said on Thursday that another armed group had cut off gas pipelines supplying an electricity generating station in Sidi Al-Saih south-east of Tripoli, leaving western Tripoli without power.
Tripoli, where the internationally-recognised Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) is based, has been under assault by forces loyal to rogue General Khalifa Haftar since April 2019.
Despite peace talks earlier this year, the fighting has escalated since the middle of March. A hospital in Tripoli has recently been hit and there is doubt whether the Libya’s much-damaged health system can cope with an outbreak of coronavirus. So far 24 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the country.
The GNA said that the fighters behind the water and electricity cutoffs were working with Haftar, noting that Shwerif and Sidi Al-Saih are under the rogue general's control. However, there are conflicting reports regarding the affiliation of the fighters.
Agencies contributed to this report.