Tripoli, 27 May 2013:
There were demonstrations in Sebha this evening following the disappearance of a major Tebu leader who has vanished . . .[restrict]in Tripoli. The commander of Qatrun’s Martyrs Brigade, Alashei Mahdi, disappeared yesterday evening from his hotel and is feared to have been kidnapped. Tebu leaders in the south of the country are demanding that the government take action and find him.
According to staff at Al-Ukhuwah Hotel off Omar Mukhtar Street where he was staying, he met with two men dressed in ordinary civilians clothes and then went off with them in a white Toyota Hilux. His mobile phone is said to be switched off, and so far there is no information as to his whereabouts.
“No one knows where he is,” said Tebu spokesman Yusuf Isa this evening. “We’ve contacted the SSC. They say they don’t know what’s happened to him.”
He disappeance has increased tension in Sebha where Mahdi was based. A former prisoner in Bu Sleem prison for 19 years who was only was released 20 August 2011, he and his brigade were involved in helping control the porous border and manning checkpoints around Murzuk.
Among the estimated 500 Tebus said to have protested in Sebha today was prominent Tebu Kufra military commander Essa Abdul Majid Mansour. The demonstrators demanded that Congress and the government take immedate action to find and free Mahdi, saying that if they did not, they would be held responsible if anything happened to him.
Tebu leaders later meet and it was reported that they planned to send a delegation to the government on the matter.
Earlier this month, there was an attempt in Tripoli to kidnap a Murzuk Tebu political activist but it failed thanks to the intervention of militiamen from Misrata. [/restrict]