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Libya mayor arrested over floods that killed thousands

Screenshot 2023 09 25 132126.png Last week, residents in Derna residents held protests demanding for accountability from local leader

Mon, 25 Sep 2023 Source:

The mayor of Derna, a Libyan city devastated by intense flooding, has been arrested in connection with the disaster, officials say.

Abdulmenam al-Ghaithi was among numerous officials charged in connection with the disaster that killed thousands in eastern Libya earlier this month.

Last week, angry Derna residents burned the mayor’s house in protest.

The office of the attorney general, based in the capital Tripoli, said on Monday that the officials were "responsible for managing the country's dam facilities" and therefore it had launched a criminal case against them.

Some of the officials, including Mr al-Ghaithi, have already been detained prior to the trial.

In a statement on Monday, the attorney general’s office accused the officials of numerous failings, such as mismanaging funds meant to maintain the dams that burst and caused the floods in Derna.

His office also said that the officials had showed neglect by failing to take precautions, leading to flood-related deaths and economic losses for Libya.

Mr al-Ghaithi has further been accused of abusing his authority.

Libya is divided into two, rival administrations - one in the east and one in the west. As the attorney general is based in Tripoli, in the west, it is not clear to what extent he can order arrests in the east.

On Sunday, the eastern government said that the number of confirmed deaths from the floods had reached 3,868.

The attorney general's office said that investigations into other officials were ongoing and there could be more arrests.