By George Grant.
Tripoli, 1 December:
The authorities have succeeded in freeing ten-year old Abdulmalik Bel-Eid, who was abducted near his home in . . .[restrict]Tuwebia on Thursday, after the Crime Investigations Unit intercepted a phone call made by one of his kidnappers this morning.
The kidnapper had called the boy’s father, Ismael Bel-Eid, to demand that a LD 500,000 ransom be delivered by the end of the day, threatening to kill Abdulmalik and his family if the money wasn’t ready.
Having been subjected to several hours of interrogation, the man disclosed that Abdulmalik was being held in the small town of Garguza, not far from Tuwebia.
Forces from the Supreme Security Committee, the Libya Shield and the Crime Invesitgations Unit were dispatched to the location where they intercepted the kidnappers attempting to move the boy to a second location in Al-Hashan.
The men were arrested, but the authorities have said they believe other members of the gang, said to be from Garguza, remain at large.
It is believed the Bel-Eids were targeted on account of their relative wealth as opposed to for any political reasons. Abdulmalik was picked up by three men on Thursday as he was walking from his grandfather’s house in Tuwebia to mosque for Maghrib prayers.
This evening, Abdulmalik spoke of his ordeal at the hands of the kidnappers, who yesterday made him speak to his family in a state of high distress. He recounted how they had threatened to kill him and pointed a rifle in his chest.
“When they pointed the rifle at me and threatened to kill me, I told them ‘kill me, I’m not afraid, stop pointing that rifle at me’.”
His father also expressed his gratitude to all those who had helped to free Abdulmalik: “Thank you”, Bel-Eid said. “I’m grateful to everyone who was concerned for my son. It is your prayers that have brought Abdulmalik safely home.”