Libya’s AG: Derna dams’ disaster started 20 years ago

The Libyan Attorney General, Al-Siddiq Al-Sour, has confirmed listing the names of a number of individuals accused in the case of the bursting of the two dams, sweeping away a quarter of Derna city and leaving thousands dead and missing.

Speaking in an interview with Libya Alahrar TV channel on Wednesday, Al-Sour said his office had started investigations into the ruptured dams’ case in Derna, benghazi and Tripoli, explaining that the probe would be targeting a number of officials and extended to cover a span of 20 years backward.

“Negligence and financial and administrative corruption in the case of the two dams started over two decades ago. The probe so far covered all legal procedures, financial analysis, letters of credit, work operations and why they were halted. It also included documents on the work of Water Supplies Authority and Derna Rebuilding Committee.” Al-Sour remarked.

He reiterated that his office didn’t want to rush to conclusions, but at the same they wanted to allow people to feel that truth was taking its course. Al-Sour said if proper measures were taken in Derna over the last years, the disaster wouldn’t have been of this magnitude. He promised that the investigations would cover the status of the rest of dams and creeks in Libya – in coordination with the army and Interior Ministry, saying that some of them could be in violation of the construction plans of the cities.

“We urge all the executive institutions across Libya to provide our investigators and prosecutors with the necessary environment so that we ensure the implementation of the probe findings ahead of sending them swiftly to courts to hold the ones involved – directly or indirectly – in the disaster accountable.” Al-Sour said.

He indicated that the file of the bodies recovered in the aftermath of the rainstorm and ensuing floods was also related to corruption, saying that the it would be necessary to prove that the deaths were caused by the floods and this task was assigned to forensics.

“We would assess the damage done to the people’s properties due to the floods by filing a civil lawsuit along with the criminal one.” Al-Sour added, saying they were still liaising with Benghazi-based Interior Ministry and the General Authority for Criminal Investigation and Army leaderships in the eastern region, which had set the necessary environment for the work of the prosecutors and investigators, who set up an electronic system to register the deaths’ IDs through DNA samples.

The full scale of the death toll of Strom Daniel and ensuing floods that have ravaged Derna has yet to emerge and officials have given widely varying death tolls. The World Health Organization has so far confirmed 3,922 deaths.


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