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News > Libya

UNSMIL is worried about kidnappings in Libya

  • UNSMIL denounces kidnappings, arbitrary detentions and forced disappearances of public figures in the country. Jul. 14, 2023.

    UNSMIL denounces kidnappings, arbitrary detentions and forced disappearances of public figures in the country. Jul. 14, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/@TheLibyaUpdate

Published 14 July 2023 (19 hours 24 minutes ago)
Opinion

Since the fall of the Muammar Gaddafi regime in 2011, Libya has been mired in political divisions and conflicts.

The United Nations Support Mission (UNSMIL) in Libya revealed on July 13 that security agencies had carried out abductions, arbitrary arrests, and enforced disappearances of public figures in the country.

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UNSMIL calls on all political, security, and social leaders to refrain from any form of escalation, including using incendiary rhetoric. They must remain calm, maintain restraint, and avoid any unilateral actions. Libya cannot afford further division and deterioration.

It also requests the Libyan authorities and security agencies to immediately release all persons arbitrarily detained, ensure independent investigations into all alleged extra-legal detentions and abductions, and bring those responsible to justice.

In addition, the mission urges all relevant authorities and actors to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law.

On July 12, reports were received that former Finance Minister Faraj Boumtari was arrested at Mitiga Airport and taken to an unknown location. Today, reports indicate that five members of the High Council of State have been banned from traveling at the same airport, according to the statement.

Immediately after the news of Boumtari's arrest spread, the Al-Zawiya tribe, from which the former minister hails, threatened to close oil fields in the south of the country if the authorities in Tripoli did not rush to release him.

In a related matter, UNSMIL is also disturbed by reports of the shutdown of some oil fields in response to the abduction of Mr. Boumtari. This would needlessly cost the Libyan people their main source of income. The shutdown must be immediately ended. Libya's oil and other natural resources should not be used as bargaining tools in any form of internal dispute.

So far, no confirmation has been issued by the National Oil Corporation (government) regarding the closure of oil fields or not.

In February, six Egyptian Coptic Christians were kidnapped and held for ransom in Libya. The country has also been the scene of many kidnappings of migrants, both adults and children, during their crossing to reach Europe.

Since the fall of the Muammar Gaddafi regime in 2011, Libya has been mired in political divisions and conflicts.

Two governments compete for power. The first one controls the west of the country, is based in Tripoli, and is headed by Abd al-Hamid al-Dabiba. This government was formed as a result of a political dialogue in early 2021. The second government controls the east of the country and is headed by Osama Hammad, which is mandated by the House of Representatives and supported by Khalifa Haftar.

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