By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab.
Tripoli, 19 January 2014:
Tensions between Warshefana and Janzour are remain high following the kidnapping on Monday . . .[restrict]of the leader of Janzour Sayad Local Council, Ibrahim Mansouri, and on Friday of the head of Warshefana Shura Council, Sheikh Mohamed Tantoush.
Janzouris have blamed criminal elements from the Warshefana area of being behind the abduction of Mansouri for whom a ransom was of LD 1 million was reportedly asked. Tantoush is said to have been seized in reprisal. However, Janzour officials have condemned the later abduction labelling those involved as common criminals who do not represent Janzour and who are intent only on sowing discord between two neighbouring areas.
Shops in Janzour, with the exception of food stores, remained closed today following the call by the local and miltary councils for a general strike in protest at the lack of security. They are demanding the government take action to ensure law and order.
Even before this afternoon’s sweep south and southwest of of the suburb by security forces in pursuit of criminals, many Janzour residents were staying at home, claiming the road to Tripoli was unsafe because of the clashes between supposed Qaddafi supporters and security forces after green flags were put up by the former.
It is not known if today’s dragnet was in connection with the kidnapping of Mansouri.
According to Warshefana Shura Council, Sheikh Mohamed Tantoush was kidnapped after council officials in Janzour invited it to a meeting on 17 January to discuss the problems between the two areas and find a solution to them.
After the delegation left the meeting, the Council said, it was immediately surrounded by gunmen wearing black face masks. The armed gunmen ordered for car lights to be turned off and asked which one was Tantoush. He was grabbed and taken away.
The Council statement also said that local Warshefana residents and young men, as soon as they heard about the abduction, set out to try and find those responsible for it. With the help of elders from Janzour, they then discovered the gunmen’s location.
However, Tantoush remains a captive, as does Mansouri. [/restrict]