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Sunday, October 16, 2016

In Liyba many kidnappings go unsolved and unpunished

Kidnappings in Tripoli occur quite regularly with the UN-backed Government of National Accord apparently powerless to stop them.

On Thursday an armed group abducted Sheik Nadir Al-Omrani who is a member of the Council of Researches and Islamic Studies at the Fatwa House. The gunmen in two cars intercepted Al-Omrani at dawn as he was on his way to a mosque to perform a morning prayer. No group has claimed reponsibility for the abduction. His family have no idea of his whereabouts. The Libya Fatwa House condemned the kidnapping and blamed authorities in Tripoli for it, presumably because they are not providing security for citizens. A spokesperson for the Council, Abdullah Al-Jaadi said that either the Islmamic State or the Dignity Operation of Marshal Haftar could benefit from the abduction.
Another recent kidnapping was of Omar Hajaji, the Deputy General Manager of the Libyan Foreign Bank (LFB). He was recently released but no details were made available until he had time to leave the country. He had been kidnapped by an armed gang in front of his house in the capital Tripoli. Hajaji was in charge of banking operations at the LFB. He was shot in the leg during the kidnapping and is receiving treatment abroad. The family claimed that they paid no ransom and that they still had no idea who carried out the kidnapping.
The Libya Herald reports that victims of kidnappings and their famiies have no legitimate state institutions to go to for help but must rely on their own efforts, contacting any of the numerous Tripoli-based militia, informal networks, or tribal connections to find out what happened. The Herald complains of the Government of National Accord: The PC/GNA seems to enjoy absolutely no authority and legitimacy within the capital, as it is totally unable to positively affect living conditions. Criminality, car-jackings and kidnappings have become the norm in Tripoli with anyone deemed to be wealthy or with a well-paying job liable to be kidnapped at any time.
However, kidnappings happen not just in the Tripoli area but in the east where the rival House of Representatives (HoR) government holds sway as well. In many cases these kidnappings are connected to groups loyal to Marshal Haftar the commander in chief of the HoR's armed forces, the Libyan National Army (LNA). Most recently a group loyal to Haftar attacked the house of HoR parliament member Amer Omran in the town of Ben Jawad, assaulted his mother, and abducted his brother. Omran backs the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) that Haftar opposes. Omran had not been in the house when the attack happened. Omran regards the kidnapping as a form of blackmail to prevent him from expressing his support for the GNA. On his Facebook account, Omran said: “I strongly condemn the attack on my family which was carried out by a party, supposedly belonging to the state, in full view of everyone."
Omran has received several threats from Haftar's Dignity Operation to change his allegiance. Omar also supports Ibrahim Jodran former leader, or leader of what is left of, the Petroleum Facilities Guard(PFG). Jodran is an opponent of Haftar. Haftar was able to seize four oil ports in the Oil Crescent from the PFG with almost no resistance. A counter attack by the PFG was repelled using air attacks and Haftar was able to retake even more territory that brought his forces within 50 kilometers of Sirte.
In many cases, kidnappings are carried out by gangs in order to gain funds through ransom rather than for any political motivation as in some of these examples. Kidnappings have also been carried out by the Islamic State and possibly even Al Qaeda in a recent case in Ghat.


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