By Ahmed Elumami and Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 21 December 2013:
Attackers have forced engineers . . .[restrict]to cut internet connections to large parts of Libya and the system remains down, despite urgent pleas from a government minister, who described the assault as “pure vandalism”.
The protestors broke into the LTT and Libyana headquarters in the Abu Setta district of Tripoli at around 3.30pm today. They obliged technicians to terminate internet connectivity, which affected the entire west and south of Libya.
Deputy Communications minister Mohammed Belras Ali told the Libya Herald that he had spoken to the protestors to find out their demands. However, he said that these were unspecific. Their major complaint was against “the current situation” in the country, including the pipeline and terminal closures and the power cuts.
Ali said they told him that because of all these closures, they thought that they would shut down Libya’s telecommunications.
“It is pure vandalism” said Ali, who claimed he had appealed to the protestors to end their action in the interest of Libya. “I told them this was a mass punishment that included that guilty and the innocent. But despite my best efforts, they refused to listen to my reasoning”.
Internet services in the east of the country are understood to be unaffected because of a direct link to Egypt. The mobile telephone services of Al-Madar and Libyana are currently working as usual.
Internet connectivity in Libya, never very reliable has come under increasing pressure as ever-more subscribers pile in to ever-less reliable bandwidth.