Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Body of Gaddafi opponent found after 19-year search | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – 19 years after Mansour Kikhia – the former Libyan Foreign Minister and one of the most prominent opponents of the Gaddafi regime – mysteriously disappeared in Cairo, his family and the Libyan authorities have finally recovered his body. It was found in a villa used by the former Libyan intelligence services in Tripoli. Confirmation of this news comes after forensic tests were conducted on Mansour’s body in Sarajevo, and the results are now in Tripoli. They have been handed over to the office of the Libyan attorney general, Abdel Aziz Alhsada, who is now waiting for the Libyan authorities to officially announce them.

So far the Libyan authorities have yet to issue an official statement announcing the discovery of Mansour Kikhia’s remains, but Dr. Mustafa Abu Hakor, vice president of the former transitional government, mourned Kikhia in a brief statement on his official Facebook page, in what is the first comment to be released from an official source.

Speaking via telephone from Tripoli, Mansour Kikhia’s brother told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The result was positive; the DNA of the body matches with Mansour‘s family and children, in addition to some other details”. He added “every detail of the body, in terms of height, skin and so on, indicates that it is Mansour’s. There is a stab wound in the chest but the causes are unknown”. There will now be a new forensic report to clarify and confirm the cause of death.

Mahmoud Kikhia said that the Libyan authorities now wish to conduct a state funeral for Mansour, with his wife and children in attendance, however he pointed out that the discovery of his brother’s body does not signal the end of suffering for a family that has waited some 19 years for this news. He added: “We will pursue any trace of the offenders, and this may prompt us to come to Egypt, since my brother was abducted on Egyptian territory”.

Mahmoud Kikhia revealed that Abdullah Senussi, Gaddafi’s intelligence chief and brother-in-law, has admitted that Mansour was abducted. Senussi claimed that the man in charge of the operation was Ibrahim Bashari, the former Libyan Foreign Minister who served as Ambassador to Egypt at the time of Mansour’s kidnapping.

Ibrahim Bashari was later killed in mysterious circumstances in a car accident. Libyan sources have claimed that Gaddafi may have decided to get rid of him, fearing the significant and dangerous secrets he was privy to. Mahmoud Kikhia explained that the building where his brother’s body was found, the so-called “Maktab al-Nasr” in Tripoli, was used by the Libyan intelligence services. He said that “The timescale [of events] is enough to tell us a lot. My brother spent four years in prison and died in 1997. They argued that his death was of natural causes, but there are doubts about that”.

The Libyan authorities found three bodies in the building identified by Senussi. Initially, these were thought to be the bodies of the Lebanese Shiite Imam Musa al-Sadr and two of his companions, who disappeared in Libya in August 1978. However, analysis conducted by the Lebanese authorities ruled out this possibility and it was subsequently suggested that one of them may be Mansour Kikhia, the former Libyan Foreign Minister. It is expected that a file will now be opened to investigate the circumstances surrounding the abduction of Kikhia in Cairo, and to examine the secrets of the special relationship between the regime of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the late Muammar Gaddafi.

Libyan sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that charges could even relate to Hosni Mubarak himself, along with some of his most prominent aides, because of the role they played in facilitating the abduction of Kikhia, and their failure to adequately protect him during his stay in Cairo. This is in addition to the fact that Egypt did not earnestly attempt to bring up the story of Kikhia’s abduction with Gaddafi and try to recover him afterwards. Meanwhile, sources in the Kikhia family have told Asharq Al-Awsat about the family’s desire to bury Mansour in his hometown of Benghazi, while the family would not object to a memorial ceremony being held in his honor in Tripoli under the auspices of the Libyan authorities.