By Houda Mzioudet and Mariam Muttawa.
Tripoli, 2 September 2013:
The Egyptian Consul in Tripoli was victim of a car-jacking today when an . . .[restrict]armed gang forced him out of his car and stole it. He was reportedly slightly injured in the incident and required hospital attention but was released shortly afterwards.
Security forces later found the car in the Kashlaf area, near Sports City in Tripoli.
The Egyptian Embassy would not comment on the attack despite numerous calls from the Libya Herald.
Last week it was reported that a group attempted to steal the car of the Egyptian Deputy Consul and broke the glass of a side door whilst it was parked outside a hotel in Tripoli.
There has been a number of diplomatic car-jackings in recent weeks, mainly because armoured embassy vehicles have become highly sought after among criminal gangs.
Last week, a Chinese diplomat was shot at by thieves who stole his car. He was unharmed.
Accompanied by his wife, Eskander Xiao was followed by a car when driving back to his house driving his car back to their home in the Siyahiya district, west of Tripoli. The two assailants forced their way into the house, he told the Libya Herald and ordered him to hand over the car keys. He initially resisted but one of the assailants fired shots with a rifle, took the car and ran away.
“One of the attackers was a masked man. Both assailants were following me when I was driving home,” Xiao explained. He contacted the General Directorate for the Protection of Diplomatic Missions, part of the Interior Ministry, which sent security forces to chase the thieves.
After two hours, the car was found in Sarraj, further west of Tripoli.
“We would like to extend our deepest thanks and gratitude to the Libyan Ministry of Interior’s General Directorate for the Protection of Diplomatic Missions as well as the interim government for their efforts in protecting foreign diplomats in Libya,” Xiao added.
He disclosed that the Chinese embassy was considering asking the Libyan government to provide security at the homes of those who work at China’s cultural and commercial offices in Tripoli.
“We wish that there will be consultation between the Libyan authorities and the Chinese embassy about providing security for all Chinese diplomats’ residences. Our mission is to reinforce Chinese-Libyan bilateral relations,” he stressed.
The Chinese embassy in Libya, he said, reserved the right to lodge a criminal lawsuit against the assailants. “But only when the security situation improves,” he added.
In the middle of last month the members of an official Italian training mission were attacked at their house and their two armoured 4×4 vehicles stolen along with other belongings. They were traced to Ghariyan and recovered.
There have been other thefts.
Mariam Muttawa is an intern with the Libya Herald