Libya: communications cut in Derna amid discontent after floods

Communications were cut off on Tuesday in Derna and journalists were asked to leave this town in eastern Libya devastated by deadly floods, the day after a demonstration by residents demanding accountability from the authorities

Libya: communications cut in Derna amid discontent after floods

Communications were cut off on Tuesday in Derna and journalists were asked to leave this town in eastern Libya devastated by deadly floods, the day after a demonstration by residents demanding accountability from the authorities.

The internet and telephone network of the two Libyan operators has been out of service since Monday at 11:00 p.m. GMT, a journalist who could be reached after leaving the city told AFP.

Most journalists were in fact asked by local authorities to leave Derna and hand over the coverage authorizations that had been provided to them, according to the same source.

These restrictions come the day after a demonstration by residents of Derna demanding accountability from the authorities in the east of the country, responsible according to them for the disaster which left thousands dead and missing after the passage of storm Daniel the September 10 and the failure of two dams upstream of the city.

The cut was caused by "a break in optical fibers in the town of Derna", the national telecommunications company (Lptic) indicated on its Facebook account.

According to her, this outage which also affects other localities in eastern Libya "could be the result of a deliberate act of sabotage".

Gathered in front of the city's large mosque, hundreds of residents chanted slogans against the eastern authorities embodied by Parliament and its leader, Aguila Saleh.

“The people want the fall of Parliament”, “Aguila (Saleh) is the enemy of God”, or even “those who stole or betrayed must be hanged”, they chanted.

Several demonstrators burned the house of the city's hated mayor, Abdulmonem al-Ghaithi, according to images widely shared on social networks and by Libyan media.

A few hours after the demonstration, the head of the executive in eastern Libya, Osama Hamad, dissolved the Derna municipal council, against which he ordered the opening of an investigation.

According to politicians and analysts, the chaos in Libya has relegated the maintenance of vital infrastructure to the background, such as the Derna dams, the collapse of which caused floods which left 3,338 dead, according to the latest provisional official report released on Monday. evening by the Minister of Health of the East, Othman Abdeljalil.

Wracked by divisions since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya is in fact governed by two rival administrations: one in Tripoli (west), recognized by the UN and led by Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dbeibah, the other in the east, embodied by Parliament and affiliated with the camp of powerful Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

Haftar's forces seized Derna in 2018, then a stronghold of radical Islamists, and the only city in the east that escaped his control. But the eastern authorities maintain relations of mistrust with Derna, considered a protest city since the time of Gaddafi.

The rupture of two dams caused a flood of tsunami magnitude along the wadi which runs through Derna, a town of 100,000 inhabitants bordering the Mediterranean.

While rescuers were still working Tuesday in Derna to find the bodies of thousands of missing people presumed dead in the floods, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the tragedy represented a "sad snapshot" of a world "swept away by the torrent of inequalities and injustices", evoking the impact of a "compilation" of "plagues", from climate change to years of conflict.

“Two years ago, there had already been leaks on the big dam when it was only half full. We had warned the municipality and demanded repairs,” Abdelqader al told AFP -Omrani from his hospital bed in Benghazi, the big eastern city. Those responsible for negligence “have our deaths on their conscience,” he said.

“Media blocking on

"Extremely dark news from

19/09/2023 19:02:25 -         Derna (Libye) (AFP) -         © 2023 AFP