Thursday, April 17, 2014

Libya: Update--Tunisian Diplomat Abducted Two Days After Jordan's Ambassador Kidnapped

According Lebanon's The Daily Star and AFP, a 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.

Tunis' ambassador to Libya, Ridha Boukadi, refused comment.

Libyan Foreign Ministry spokesman Said Lessoued said he could not confirm nor deny the reported abduction, the latest in a string of incidents targeting foreign diplomats, business executives and Libyan politicians.

A Tripoli police official, however; quoted the news source Al-Wassat as saying  that the diplomat was seized by unknown assailants near the central Al-Kadissiya square not far from the Tunisian Embassy.

If confirmed, the diplomat would be the second staffer from the Tunisian Embassy abducted in Tripoli since March 21, when a man employed by the mission was seized. His fate is unknown.

COMMENT: Libya has been gripped by lawlessness in recent months with the number of assassinations and abductions stacking up without resolution.

For a nation with a population of  only six million people, it is extraordinary that that boils down to 15+ firearms per 100 population. 

See the below links to see increasing levels of violence in Libya:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/03/world/africa/libya-foreigners-killed 

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/03/02/uk-libya-france-idUKBREA2109320140302

npost.com/world/us-citizen-shot-and-killed-in-benghazi-libya/2013/12/05/b3c03892-5dd3-11e3-95c2-13623eb2b0e1_story

In January 2014, gunmen seized five Egyptian diplomats and held them for two days before releasing them. The abductors had demanded in return the release of a Libyan militia chief held in Egypt. 

Two assailants were killed in October 2013 when protesters attacked the Russian Embassy in Tripoli; a car bomb attack on the French Embassy wounded two guards a year ago.

On September 11, 2012, an attack by militants on the US consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, the cradle of the 2011 revolt, killed US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Consulate staff members.

Based upon the above, I strongly discourage all foreign nationals, regardless of nationality, from traveling to Libya unless they are fully aware of the precise level of physical security and executive protection they will be afforded by their employer if they enter Libya on a diplomatic or work visa.

I STRONGLY recommend that all tourists AVOID Libya at all costs.

This report will be updated as new information becomes available.