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UN mission in Libya concerned about growing abductions, detentions

UN in Libya   -  
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The UN Support Mission in Libya (Manul) expressed its concern on Thursday at the abductions, detentions and enforced disappearances of citizens and public figures, including a former minister, warning that a climate of fear and tension was being created.

The UN is "deeply concerned by the continuing abductions, arbitrary arrests and disappearances of citizens and public figures by various security bodies in Libya", according to a statement released on Thursday.

Faraj Abderrahmane Boumtari, former Minister of Finance in 2018 in the national unity government, "was arrested on Wednesday on arrival at Mitiga airport (Tripoli) and taken to an unknown location", Manul said.

According to local media reports, he was arrested by agents of the Internal Security Agency (OSI), but this information has not yet been confirmed by the authorities.

Members of Faraj Abderrahmane Boumtari's tribe, the Zouaya, threatened on Thursday to blockade oil terminals in the east of the country if the former minister was not released.

Two oil fields in the south, al-Charara and al-Fil, which account for a third of Libya's black gold production, have already been blocked by protesters, according to reports circulating on social networks that have not been verified by AFP.

On Thursday, "five members of the High Council of State (HCE) were banned from traveling to the same airport", Manul announced, citing "information".

Mitiga airport is run by both the authorities and security organizations, each of which has the power to bar travelers from entering or leaving the airport.

The UN mission called on the Libyan authorities and security bodies to "release all those arbitrarily detained, and guarantee independent investigations" into the kidnappings.

For Manul, these latest tensions are generating a "climate of fear and fuelling inter-community and inter-tribal tensions", "unfavorable to the holding of transparent and inclusive elections or to national reconciliation".

Endowed with Africa's most abundant oil reserves, Libya has been plunged into chaos since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011, and is shaken by divisions between the east and west of the country.

Two governments have been battling for power for over a year: one in Tripoli (west), recognized by the UN, led by Abdelhamid Dbeibah, the other in the east, backed by the powerful Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

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