Monday, April 21, 2014

Libya: Update--Abductions of Jordanian Ambassador, Tunisian Diplomats

According to Reuters and, the kidnapping of Jordanian Ambassador Fawaz al-Aytan and members of his security detail on April 15, in central Tripoli, remain in custody as this posting is filed, no approaching one week after the fact:

As for the Tunisian diplomat identified as Al-Aroussi Al-Fatnassi was kidnapped on Thursday (April 17) without giving further details, just two days after Jordanian Ambassador Fawaz Al-Aytan who was abducted on Tuesday (April 15) along with members of his security detail. 

In the interest of transparency, when the first Tunisian diplomat, Mohammed Bel Shiekh, was kidnapped in March 2014, I drafted the below link, but did NOT post it until I was sure that political turbulence would continue in Libya. Hence, the belated link below:

COMMENT: According to REUTERS, a Tunisian diplomat kidnapped a month ago (the first Tunisian diplomat to be abducted in March 2014) pleaded with his government to negotiate with his Islamist captors, according to a video released by an Islamist group on Sunday evening (April 20).  

Islamists have seized two Tunisian diplomats in the past month to demand the release of fellow militants jailed in Tunisia for attacking security forces there in 2011, according to the Tunisian government.

The first Tunisian diplomat to be kidnapped in March 2014, Mohammed Bel Sheikh, depicted the diplomat as crying on the video-clip saying, "Mr. President, negotiate seriously with them. I want to return to my country." 

Bel Shiekh was revealed as sporting a beard and saying, "They can kill me anytime. Mr. President, I have three young children," he said. "Are you a father, Mr President?"

At the end of the video, an Islamist group called Shabab al-Tawhid (Youth of Monotheism) added a message to the Tunisian government: "As you imprison ours we will imprison yours. As you kills ours we will kill yours."

Independently, Bel Shiekh's family confirmed that the kidnap victim revealed in the clip was their family member.

As for the kidnapped Jordanian ambassador to Libya Fawaz al-Aytan, who was abducted last week, according to today's issue (April 21) of, no Jordanian troops have entered Libyan territory to help free the Kingdom's ambassador in Tripoli.

Reportedly, the Libyan government has established dialogue with the kidnappers of the Jordanian ambassador and acknowledge that there impediments to the release of the envoy.

It is an understatement that tourists of all nationalities should AVOID Libya.

Additionally, both diplomats and those foreigners in Libya on work-visas should immediately review their security vulnerabilities and take prompt steps to protect their human assets.

Minimally, both diplomats and those on work-visas should do the following if they have not already done so:

1. Immediately reduce outside appointments unless they involve well-known venues that possess enhanced physical security;

2. Confer promptly with embassy security representatives in terms of  what threats they foresee in terms of  threats to the international community;

3. Schedule no appointments to questionable or suspicious venues;

4. Both diplomats and business entities should review their contingency plans from the standpoint of reducing risks;

5. Both diplomats and business entities should particularly focus on risks to families and school security, ensuring that no one but parents are authorized to pick up children from school; and

6. Review security vulnerabilities as they relate to high-visibility targets.