The UN condemns the abduction of the Libyan government

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said on Tuesday night that it “condemned” what it describes as the “abduction” of the chief of staff to a senior politician in the capital Tripoli.

The kidnapping is the latest in a series of incidents that have called into question the war – torn country’s progress towards planned free and fair national polls in December, including a new collapse of talks on an election format.

UNSMIL said in a statement on Twitter that it was “deeply concerned about the abduction and disappearance of Rida Faraj Fraitis, Chief of Staff of the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity.”

The UN mission “condemns” the kidnapping, it said.

Fraitis was kidnapped by “unidentified gunmen” along with a colleague on August 2, after visiting the GNU premises in the capital, UNSMIL said, noting that it “fears for their safety and security”.

The UN also said it was concerned about others who worked in different roles for the country’s democratic transition and who have been targeted in the same way.

They include a number of cases of “illegal arrests and detentions, forced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings” over the past year.

Such documented events have “serious consequences for the peace and reconciliation process and for the full unification of national institutions,” Tuesday’s statement said.

Libya was seized by violence and political turbulence in the aftermath of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted and killed dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

In recent years, the oil-rich country has been divided between two rival administrations.

After the forces of the putschist general Khalifa Haftar were led from the west of the country last year, the two camps signed a ceasefire in Geneva in October.

An interim administration was set up in March to prepare for presidential and parliamentary votes on 24 December.

But recent talks in Geneva have revealed deep divisions over when elections should be held, what elections should be held and on what constitutional grounds – a blockade that threatens to throw Libya back into crisis.

“Libya must stop the culture of impunity in the country,” UN envoy to Libya Jan Kubis said on Tuesday.


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