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Fate of Tunisian journalists held in Libya remains unknown Open in fullscreen

Salah al-Din al-Jorashi

Fate of Tunisian journalists held in Libya remains unknown

Hamdi said he had not been notified the journalists were travelling to Libya [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 January, 2015

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It is impossible to confirm reports that the two journalists taken captive in September have been executed.

A pair of Tunisian journalists abducted in Libya four months ago have reportedly been executed by the Islamic State group - but the statement announcing their execution cannot be independently verified.

According to France 24, Sofiene Chourabi and Nazir al-Qatari went missing in Ajdabiya, in eastern Libya, on September 8 - a few days after they were detained then released by another armed gang in the area.

Powerless

Meanwhile in Tunisia, caretaker Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa's government has been accused of not doing enough to secure the release of the two journalists.

Foreign Minister Mongi Hamdi told al-Araby al-Jadeed the Tunisian government had dealt with the issue seriously ever since the two journalists went missing.

It is difficult to search for the two journalists in a country teeming with armed groups and criminal gangs.

The Tunisian Foreign Ministry was not notified the journalists had gone to Libya in the first place, and was surprised by news of their arrest in Libya shortly after their arrival.

He said his government had no news about them since they were abducted a second time, reportedly by the Libyan franchise of the Islamic State group (IS, formerly known as Isis).

The foreign minister said he contacted several former and current Libyan officials to help secure their release, and added that his ministry had intensified its efforts to reach out to groups in east and west Libya.

He said it was difficult to search for the two journalists in a country teeming with armed groups and criminal gangs.

He noted that the case of the Tunisian diplomats abducted in Libya was completely different.

"In that case, we knew who the abductors were, and there were mediators," Hamdi said. In the case of the two journalists, they have no information and no leads, he added.

Hamdi also told al-Araby he remains in frequent communication with the families of the two journalists, and has offered them the chance to go to east Libya and help search for them at the expense of the foreign ministry, in the hope of finding a lead that could resolve the situation.


This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

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