BEIRUT, (Reuters) – Lebanese police found on Thursday the bodies of a Sunni Muslim government supporter and a 12-year-old boy whose abduction earlier this week was linked to Lebanon’s rising sectarian tension.
Police found the bodies of Ziad Qabalan, 25, and Ziad Ghandour, 12, in a field north of the port city of Sidon, 40 km (25 miles) south of Beirut after a local television station received an anonymous phone tip, police sources said.
Rival Lebanese leaders had urged calm on Wednesday after the two were kidnapped on Monday in what was believed to be retaliation for the killing earlier this year of a Shi’ite opposition activist.
Ghandour’s father and Qabalan are members of the Progressive Socialist Party of pro-government Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.
Lebanese media had reported that the two had been kidnapped by members of a Shi’ite clan who had vowed to avenge the killing of their relative in clashes between government and opposition supporters at a Beirut university in January.
The Shi’ite Shamas clan named by the media condemned the kidnapping and distanced itself from the abduction in a statement on Wednesday.
Sporadic violence between the mainly Sunni, Druze and Christian ruling coalition and mainly Shi’ite and Christian opposition have killed 10 people since the opposition launched a street campaign to topple the government in December.
The political crisis, Lebanon’s worst since the 1975-1990 civil war, has at times threatened to spill into Sunni-Shi’ite strife as sectarian tensions run high.