The recent closure of the Great Man Made River, the world’s largest irrigation project, has resulted in water shortages in Western Libya, leaving over 3 million people without water.
The origin of the incident became cause for debate after several competing agendas seemed to be at play.
Two groups claimed responsibility for the water blockade, with one group demanding the release of prisoners in the eastern Libya and another demanding the release of prisoners in western Libya.
In an interview with Libya Review, Mayor Hussen Ali al-Qaddafi stated that the decision to close down the Man Made River was made after the breakdown of talks with the Government of National Accord (GNA) and armed groups responsible for kidnapping a local from Al-Shwaerif while he was in western Libya.
“We are worried about his fate, we do not even know whether he is dead or alive, ” the Mayor told Libya Review.
“We pleaded the authorities in Tripoli to intervene and help us, but we were not taken seriously.”
The Mayor went on to add that his actions were not only the result of this particular case, but also in response to the outright discrimination practiced against members of the Mgarha tribe.
The Mgarha tribe is a Libyan tribe that is based in southern Libya, predominantly around Al-Shwearif and Al-Shati.
The tribe is known for being a supporter of the Libyan National Army (LNA) and, as such, has been subjected to mistreatment within GNA-controlled territories.
The Mayor emphasised that they are not part of any tribal or political feuds taking place in Libya: “We just want to know what happened to our son, ” said Mayor al-Qaddafi.