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Libyan Militias Viewed as Prime Suspects for Nationwide Abductions

Libyan Militias Viewed as Prime Suspects for Nationwide Abductions

Wednesday, 14 March, 2018 - 09:15
Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj arrives to attend a news conference with his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni. Photo: Reuters

Missing official statistics make it impossible to know the exact number of abductees in Libya. However, complaints pushed forth by human rights organizations and citizens show that a single account of disappearance occurred almost every day.

Local observers told Asharq Al-Awsat that “armed militias” are responsible for the kidnaps in most cases.

On the other hand, Government of National Accord Interior Minister Abdel Salam Ashour reassured citizens that security services are doing their part in searching for all missing people and confronting perpetrators.

In a meeting with heads and members of the Libyan human rights and democracy group, he reviewed reasons behind the forced disappearance of a number of citizens at the ministry's headquarters in the capital.

“There are many factors behind the widespread phenomenon of forced disappearances in the country, mainly militias anchored and spread in most Libyan cities, their practicing of extortion, theft and barbarism,” said House of Representatives member Omar Ghaith Qarmil.

“There are also other reasons related to tribal conflicts and political and ideological differences. “

In response to public rage, GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj asked his legal adviser to contact families of the victims of kidnappings.

For his part, Dr. Mohammed Amer al-Abani, another member of Libya’s HoR, said that the reoccurring abductions stress “the fragility of the state”.

More so, he condemned militias taking lead when it comes to managing the national security file.

Among those missing is the Tuweiri family which disappeared on February 3.

According to reports, men in uniform took them from their home in Zliten (150 km east of Tripoli), prompting the UN mission in Libya to declare that abductions carried out by armed groups have become an increasingly worrying pattern in the war-torn country.

In the face of the large number of disappearances, families and friends of hundreds of abductees organized a protest in Algeria's capital Algiers this March to pressure the Sarraj-led Presidential Council to take solid steps in forming a committee to gather information and try to locate those missing.

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