TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Six journalists have been kidnapped in recent days in the Libyan capital, and while one has been released the whereabouts of the other five are still unknown, media representatives and one of the victims said on Tuesday.
Abductions are rife in Libya since the 2011 uprising that resulted in the toppling of longtime dictator Muammar Gadhafi. Officials are most frequently targeted but journalists too have often been subject to threats and attacks.
In the most recent kidnapping, men wearing military uniforms seized Younis Ali Younis, a journalist for the state news agency LANA, while he was sitting in a cafe Monday next to a five-star hotel in Tripoli, said LANA head Abdel-Bassit Abu-Diyah.
Most uniformed men in Tripoli are part of militias composed largely of former rebels. The government relies on them for security in the tumultuous aftermath of the 2011 fighting, but they are often blamed for abuses including abductions and assassinations.
Younis was released Tuesday. While in detention, he told The Associated Press afterward, he was questioned about the policies of his paper and his work, including on the armed groups in the capital
He says he was blindfolded but treated well. He was held not far from the capital, he said, but he does not know who abducted him.
On Sunday, five other journalists from Libya Al-Wataniya, the state network in the southern city of Sabha, were abducted on their way from the Tripoli airport to the city, the Tripoli press syndicate told The Associated Press.
Abdel Qader Ibrahim, the father of one of the abducted journalists, said that they have received no information about their whereabouts and that they were working with the other families to find out more.
LANA blamed the Interior Ministry for the kidnappings, citing its inability to provide adequate security in the Libyan capital.
The head of a liaison group between the public and the government said that other activists were abducted on Thursday after holding a meeting in the city center. Nasser al-Kerawi, the head of the security and stability committee in Tripoli, had no further details.