Libya’s kidnapping business
Investigative journalist Mat Nashed has written an article for Al-Monitor exploring the rise in the number of missing persons in Libya since 2014. Nashed focuses on the rampant occurrence of kidnappings, where the motive ranges from ransom to political gain. The author interviews a series of activists who suggest that despite the regular occurrence of kidnappings, institutional efforts to addresses the issue has fallen short. Nashed explains:
In Tripoli, 189 people were abducted in March 2017, while 68 people were kidnapped in April, according to records obtained by the Interior Ministry of the GNA.
Worse still, the GNA has not established a committee to investigate the fate of the disappeared, which it was supposed to do by February 2016, according to Article 26 of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). Sami Shams, an activist with the ADHR, told Al-Monitor that their association is pressuring the GNA to adhere to the LPA.
“Libya needs an independent committee to investigate the kidnappings,” he said over the phone. “The GNA is the legal government in the country according to the LPA, so they have the responsibility to protect its citizens.”
Following recent pressure by the ADHR, the GNA has started to instruct militias to find the kidnappers. Yet Jalel Harchaoui, a doctoral candidate in geopolitics at Paris 8 University and a frequent commentator on Libyan affairs, said that armed groups charged with arresting kidnappers are also abducting people.
“Kidnapping is an extracurricular activity for militias in Libya,” he told Al-Monitor. “If [militias] catch somebody who is useful, they will extort him. And if they catch somebody who isn’t useful [for political gain], then they might ask for a ransom.”
To read the article in full click here.