Libyan Authorities Arrest “Electrical Wire” Thieves


Libyan Criminal Investigation Agency arrested 36 foreign workers for stealing electrical wires and smuggling the wires abroad.

In a statement, the Libyan agency said that it carried out an operation on Thursday, in cooperation with the Aziziya Criminal Investigation Unit, the Western Region Operations Room, and Military Police. The accused criminals were using a farm in the Saadiya area to house the stolen electrical wires.

“The workers were stealing and burning large quantities of wires and then selling or smuggling them outside the country,” the statement added.

Since 2011, Libya has been suffering from a deficit in energy production. The General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) adopted a program of load shedding hours in various cities and regions that may extend to more than 12 hours a day.

Copper cables are often also the object of theft, which contributed to the almost permanent interruption in the regions of Libya.

Libya is seeking to obtain multiple sources of energy to solve the power outage crisis, which the Libyan Prime Minister has repeatedly promised to solve, but without result.

The oil-rich country contracts with neighbouring countries such as Egypt to supply the necessary electricity.

In January 2022, the Egyptian Electricity Minister, Mohamed Shaker, said that the country is planning to increase the capacity of its electrical linkage line with Libya to 2000 megawatts (MW).

In press statements, the minister said that the basic capacity of the electricity line amounted to 100 MW at a voltage of 220 kilovolt (kV), and the capacity was increased in January 2020 to 150 MW.

Shaker said the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company started to raise the voltage of the line between Egypt and Ethiopia to 500 kV from 220 kV.