By Hadi Fornaji.
Tunis, 19 September 2017:
The National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT) has blamed the head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, for the failure to discover what happened to Tunisian journalists Sofiene Chourabi and Nadhir Ktari who disappeared three years ago near Ajdabiya.
The SNJT claim that the area where they vanished was under Haftar’s control at the time and that subsequently those linked to the LNA did nothing to help solve the mystery.
While the union has not actually blamed Hafter and the LNA for the abductions, it denounced what it called the “suspicious silence” of all the Libyan parties “who are called upon to show good faith in handling this issue”. It had called on the country’s president, Beji Caïd Essebsi to bring up the subject in his talks with Hafter yesterday.
There has been no indication that he did. Hafter has now left Tunis.
Although there have been some allegations that the abductors were Salafists linked to Hafter, it is generally believed that the two were captured by Islamists linked to the so-called Islamic State (IS), or at least passed on to them.
Since early 2015, there have been persistent reports that IS executed the two – reports that the interim government in Beida subsequently claimed were true, as later did a Tunisian judge sent to investigate the case. In January this year, a Libyan member of IS captured by the LNA was reported by it to have confirmed that the two were executed by IS in Derna in 2014 having been accused of being spies.
The Tunisian authorities, however, have constantly hung on to the hope that they were alive and would reappear at some point.