Last week, the water blockade on Tripoli and surrounding areas that originated in the southern muncipality of Shwerif was temporarily suspended to give UNSMIL enough time to locate the imprisoned brother of Mayor Hasan Ali Gaddafi of Shwerif.
This temporary outcome was achieved after tribal elders from the region intervened to put an end to the issue. This week, tribal and social leaders across Fezzan called a meeting to discuss the future of Libya’s southern region.
Sources told Libya Review that the water blockade, which begun as an independent act to release Dr. Ali Gaddafi, is slowly transforming into a popular movement.
Elders across the south are calling for a unified front to protest the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) “harsh punishment of the South” after the Tripoli-based government cut fuel and funding to the region.
The meeting will discuss ways to respond to the GNA’s measures in order to ensure that the region is treated fairly. According to our sources, tribal elders from the south want to ensure that their people are “no longer subjected to mistreatment both in and outside their territories”.
One of the topics that the meeting will address is the case of arbitrary detention of southerners in Tripoli, which allegedly number in the thousands of unlawfully imprisoned citizens.
This comes just days after the death of Major General Saad Masood of Sebha in a Tripoli prison.
One source close to the matter stated that “we have been patient and hoped that UNSMIL and the international community would come to our aid, however, they have failed to do so and have forced us to take matters in our own hands.” The source added that “we will not let another prisoner die in militia prisons.”