Dutch woman disappears in Tripoli
By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli and Tunis, 31 May 2017:
A Dutch woman who disappeared in Tripoli on Friday may have been kidnapped as she staged a lone protest at the fighting in the city.
Yvonne Snitjer, founded the Education All Eureka Centre, has lived in Tripoli for around two years and recently returned from a trip to Holland. She was last seen sitting in the Café Roma in the old town on Friday evening.
That afternoon she has sent out a social media message inviting others to join her in an event which she described as a party, the very opposite of a fight, a positive event in defiance of the violence that was gripping the city.
“I know this is a crazy idea” she wrote in a post on the Expats in Tripoli Facebook page, “I know many people will say this is dangerous”. But she said she wanted to set a concrete example of how life could be for the fighters, some of whom she said she knew and who were suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
She wrote that she wanted to head towards the fighting. “I was thinking to sit near the area (and when possible in the area) with a book and read, drink some tea (after sunset the tea)…. The guys need to see the real world. “ And she proposed that this could be the case if something happened that was bigger than usual. “Strange woman reading a book is for sure unusual” she wrote.
She said she did not like fights but knew that all Libyans loved a party.
“ I want a relax[ed] Ramadan and happy people. Only I can not arrange this alone. I need help to get this and see this. I want to arrange a opposite of a fight.”
She said that she could not wait, “ knowing many people are afraid and others are dying for … assumptions. I want to stop it. The guys who doing a criminal act[s] have to go to jail (and get help) and others help and another job. Who [would] like to join? Who has another ideas to show the guys that the world isn’t that as they all assume.”
It is not clear that anyone decided to join her in her book-reading peace protest.
Snitjer left the café at around 9.30pm telling a friend that she needed to find decent internet. She then contacted a friend who lives near Mitiga saying she was coming there, but she never arrived.
The Libya Herald has been told that around 11.30pm someone used her phone to call a number in her contacts to ask who Yvonne Snitjer was.
Kidnappings for ransom have become a bitter part of daily life in the capital. So far however it is not known that any demand has been made and there has been no statement from anyone responsible for her abduction.
At the Dutch foreign ministry in The Hague a spokesman said today that they knew of Snitjer’s disappearance. “ We are working on it and trying to find out what is going on. But that is made tricky by the anything-but-orderly situation in Libya. “
The Dutch embassy is currently located to Tunis. Only the Italians and Turks have so far fully reopened their missions in Tripoli.