The mayor of Derna, a city in eastern Libya, which was swept away by flash floods, was arrested. Photo/WSJ
TRIPOLI – Mayor of Derna, city in Libya Timur, was detained along with a number of other officials in the aftermath of Flash floods which hit the region. They are suspected of mismanagement and negligence related to the dam collapse which resulted in the city being hit by devastating floods two weeks ago.
Libya’s Prosecutor General’s Office, which is based in Tripioli, said it had issued an order to detain eight local officials over the dam breach caused by the storm. The incident caused strong currents that swept the surrounding area into the sea, killing thousands of people.
“Those detained include the mayor and an official responsible for water resources,” said Libya’s Attorney General, without naming them, as quoted by Al Arabiya, Tuesday (26/9/2023).
Angry residents blamed authorities for the collapse of the dam, which was built to hold back the seasonal flow of a river that flows through the city.
A contract to repair the dam signed in 2007 was never completed amid a civil war that began with a NATO-backed uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Derna itself until 2019 was controlled by fighters from a series of groups including ISIS.
Earlier, protesters set fire to Mayor Abdulmenam al-Ghaithi’s house last week, and the government in the country’s east said the mayor was dismissed and the entire city council was sacked.
Thousands of people are confirmed to have died as a result of the flood and thousands more are still missing, and entire buildings were swept into the sea. International rescue teams continue to try to recover bodies from under the rubble and in the city’s harbor, with hopes of finding survivors dwindling.
The flooding and rescue efforts also exposed disputes between the central government and a rival administration that controls the eastern part of the country and does not recognize authorities in Tripoli.