BEIRUT, (Reuters) – Two Saudi Arabian citizens kidnapped and tortured for eight days in Lebanon have been freed and are recovering in hospital, the official Saudi Press Agency said on Wednesday.
The state news agency did not specify when the victims were taken or who abducted them, but quoted the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon, Ali bin Saeed Awadh Asiri, as saying the kidnappers were part of a “gang belonging to an Arab country”.
He also warned Saudis to stay away from Lebanon’s border areas. Israel borders Lebanon to the south and turmoil-hit Syria is its eastern neighbour.
Saudi Arabia has been an outspoken opponent of the Syrian government since a popular revolt erupted in the country 13 months ago, but the embassy statement gave no details indicating the kidnapping was politically motivated.
Asiri told the agency that the kidnappers lured Tawfiq al-Shaqaqiq and Abdullah al-Shaqaqiq into an apartment near the capital Beirut, tortured them and demanding a large ransom from their relatives.
There have been several cases of kidnappings for money in recent years in Lebanon, usually in remote parts of the country.
Lebanese security officials confirmed the victims had been freed but declined further comment.
Asiri said a joint Saudi-Lebanese security operation had secured the two men’s release and that two kidnappers were arrested. “The search is still on going to (find) the rest of the gang members,” he said.