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Water supplies restored to Tripoli after shutdown by GNA-linked militia

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

TRIPOLI – Water supplies to the 2.5 million residents of Tripoli were restored two days after they were cut off by gunmen, officials said on Tuesday.

“The crisis of halting water supplies has ended and flows have started,” the Great Man-Made River company, a pipe network supplying ground water from the Sahara, said in a statement.

On Saturday, an armed group had stormed a pumping station some 400 km south of Tripoli, forcing employees to turn off the pipes, the company said, without giving more details.

The United Nations had condemned the closure as possible war crime. The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) accused the Libyan National Army (LNA) of being behind the shutdown.

LNA  denied they were responsible for cutting off the water. A commander in the army told Reuters they had sent reinforcements to secure the pipe.

Evidence emerged that the armed group responsible for the shutdown has ties to GNA. Following the shutdown, an armed group led by a militant named Khalifa Hanish demanded the release of his brother Al-Mabrouk Hanish, a militant imprisoned by GNA in October 2017, in exchange for reopening the pipe.

Hanish’s militia, the so-called Brigade 219, tried to control the capital’s entries in 2017. This led to a clash between his militia and other militias that ended with his arrest.

Prior to his arrest, Hanish had confirmed on the record that he is affiliated with Ali Kanna; a former Gaddafi-era commander who was appointed by GNA as its military commander in Sabha two years after Hanish’s arrest.

Hanish had also said that he was recruited by Kanna to fight the LNA which Hanish accused of destroying Benghazi.

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