Sixteen top Libyan officials have been detained pending an investigation into the deadly collapse of two dams after heavy rain in the coastal city of Derna earlier this month, according to a statement by the Libyan attorney general’s office. Thousands of people died in the ensuing floods.
The coastal city’s mayor and several present and former water infrastructure authorities were among those detained.
The attorney general’s statement said that the officials are suspected of “negligence and mismanagement” that led to the disaster. The statement also said that the investigation is ongoing and that further arrests are possible.
The collapse of the two dams in Derna was the deadliest disaster in Libya since the end of the civil war in 2011. The floods destroyed entire neighborhoods and displaced thousands of people.
The Libyan government has come under fire for its handling of the disaster. Critics have accused the government of being slow to respond to the crisis and of failing to provide adequate assistance to the victims.
The detention of the top Libyan officials is a significant step in the investigation into the disaster. It shows that the government is serious about holding those responsible accountable.