By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 13 January 2016:
Qaddafi loyalists are pretending to be holding two Lebanese men in Libya and demanding that . . .[restrict]they be exchanged for the late dictator’s son Hannibal, currently detained in Beirut.
An informed diplomatic source has told the Libya Herald has described as “complete nonsense” the claim that the two men, cousins Mohammad Mustafa Toufic Nazha and Khaled Mustafa Toufic Nazha, are being held in Benghazi by Qaddafi people.
“This is not political. These guys are carpenters who went to Benghazi to work with Libyan partners” said the source, “They are being held in a dispute over a petty sum of money, five or ten thousand Libyan dinars. It is amazing that the international media has swallowed this story that Qaddafi’s people have seized them. This is a ‘normal’ kidnapping”.
On Wednesday a video was posted on a site describing itself as “The International Gadhafi News Agency” which showed two men holding placards identifying themselves as the Nazha cousins and giving their birthdays and hometown as Minyeh which is outside the Lebanese city of Tripoli. A placard addressing the Lebanese prime minister and acting president Tammam Saeb Salam said that the men’s fate and the future of their children was tied to the future of Hannibal Qaddafi. When he was freed, they would be freed.
These pictures were bogus, the source told this newspaper. It was not clear when the men were likely to be released by their real kidnappers but Lebanese diplomats have apparently been in touch with them and they are both in good health.
Meanwhile sources in Beirut say that Hannibal is also being well cared for and is likely to be released soon. He is being held to see if he can throw any light on the 1978 disappearance of the Amal cleric Musr Sadr. Though Hannibal was only three years old when Sadr went missing, reportedly after a row over religion with Qaddafi, the Lebanese believe that he might still be able to throw some light on what happened.
A British newspaper, the Daily Mail has reported that when Hannibal was seized last month by militiamen in Lebanon, his computer tablet was found to contain 1,700 images, which included pictures apparently taken of torture in Abu Sleem prison. In fact the tablet in question was found after the revolution in Hannibal’s Regatta complex outside Tripoli.
No formal extradition request has been forthcoming from the Libyan government in Beida. However it is understood that Qaddifist elements approached the Lebanese embassy in Tunis wanting to have access to Hannibal in Beirut. The overture was rejected. It is also possible that the Algerian government has taken an interest in Hannibal’s fate. A diplomatic source said of Qaddafi’s once high-living son “ At the moment he wants to be absolutely anywhere, except Libya”. [/restrict]