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Daughter of former Libyan intelligence chief kidnapped - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Members of the coast battalion of the Libya Shield Force Western Brigade man a checkpoint in the western suburbs of the city of TripoliCairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Monday’s kidnapping of Anoud Al-Sannousi, the daughter of former Gaddafi intelligence chief, Abdullah Al-Sannousi, has raised fear of the eruption of civil war in Libya.

Ms Sannousi was kidnapped after being released from prison in Tripoli, after serving a ten-month sentence for entering the country on a false passport.

A Libyan security source, speaking on a condition of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat that an official investigation was opened yesterday amid suspicions of a “betrayal” within the official guards who were responsible for transporting Ms Sannouni from prison following her release, in preparation for her travel to southern Libya.

No party has so far admitted responsibility for the kidnapping, which is the latest indication of Libyan authorities’ failure to maintain security in the country, two years after the ouster of Gaddafi.

A few hours after the kidnapping, a video emerged which was filmed before news of her kidnapping was released. It showed Ms Sannousi wearing black clothes while sitting beside a security official. She denied being tortured and said she was treated well throughout her detention.

Libyan government officials and figures close to the Sannousi family have denied the reports which appeared on Twitter and Facebook that Ms Sannousi was dead, but admitted that there had been no contact with the kidnappers so far.

The Maqarha tribe, to which Sannousi belongs, has threatened to take revenge. A statement issued by leading figures of the tribe said the Sabha airport road would be closed and all fights would be disrupted, in addition to disrupting the main road between northern and southern Libya.

The tribe also announced its intention to disrupt electricity power stations within the Great Man-Made River system which feeds northern Libya, which would starve Tripoli of water.

In a first official response following the kidnapping of the Libyan intelligence chief’s daughter, interim Prime Minister Ali Zaidan yesterday dismissed the Interior Ministry’s undersecretary for security affairs, Omar Al-Khadhrawi, though he did not give specific reasons for his decision.

A local news agency, however, said Khadhrawi tendered his resignation last June and had recently said he would leave the ministry soon.

Minister of Justice Salah Al-Marghani held a news conference in Tripoli on Monday evening in which he announced the kidnapping.

Marghani said the kidnapping took place around 100 meters form the gates of the prison, on the outskirts of Tripoli, while she was on the way to hand her over to her family, who were waiting in Tripoli Airport. He said: “Armed men in five cars attacked the three-car convoy which was transporting Anoud Al-Sannousi after her release from prison, and they kidnapped her.”

The Libyan official said the convoy transporting Sannousi’s daughter, which had three cars, one of which had the minister of justice’s undersecretary and two ministry officials, was ambushed by an armed group which appeared to be highly organized.

He continued: “What happened today is a crime and an injustice against a Libyan citizen who has done nothing wrong and it is an insult to all Libyans and a blow to the February 17 Revolution.”

He said relevant authorities at the Interior Ministries and Judicial Police, in cooperation with the supreme security committee, have taken legal measures to start the search operation and that investigations were underway.

He called for the immediate release of Anoud Al-Sannousi and stressed that finding her was “the duty of the government, former revolutionaries and the international community.”