On Monday, Mayor Hassan Ali Qaddafi and tribal elders from the southern municipality of Shwerif issued a statement declaring a temporary pause to the water blockade on Tripoli. The temporary pause was conditional to the ability of the United Nations Special Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to track down the Mayor’s brother, Dr. Ali Qaddafi, who was arbitrarily arrested by an unknown armed group in western Libya.
The temporary solution was a result of concerted efforts by tribal and social leaders in the Fezzan region and the intervention of prominent Libyan social figures.
The statement thanked UNSMIL and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), among other organisations, for their continued efforts and the good will they have shown in addressing the matter.
In an interview with Libya Review, an elder of the Mgarha tribe in Shwerif stated that, although the process was difficult and hindered by both domestic and international actors, a number of reliable figures from within Libya and the international community helped coordinate the right approach to achieve this breakthrough.
The elder said he hopes this process sets an example for international actors when it comes to dealing with Libyan issues, stating that “if the right people are involved to mediate, and the international community cooperates with them, such crises can be solved and averted.”
The water blockade started on April 6 after a group from Shwerif stormed the Great Man-Made River facility and shut down its pumping systems, effectively cutting off water for over 2 million people in Tripoli and surrounding towns.
The Elder from the Mgarha tribe added that this development was only the beginning. “The international community must keep its promise to track down our prisoner, Dr. Ali Qaddafi or else we will end up back where we started.”