Last updateLun, 26 Jan 2015 8pm

International support to end kidnappings in Libya

Security - The kidnapping of five Egyptian diplomats on Friday and Saturday in the Libyan captital, Tripoli, as a protest against the arrest in Cairo of a militia leader, has once again not only shown the chaotic security situation in the North African country but also sounds the alarm bells for support from the international community to enhance security.

The diplomats were released on Sunday evening after the Egyptian authorities released Chaaban Hadeia, a leader of the former Libyan rebels, in what appears to be deal between Tripoli and Cairo.

But the most spectacular kidnapping of foreign diplomats in the Libyan capital has once again tarnished the image of the new Libya, two years after the fall in 2011 of the Kaddafi regime, by presenting it as chaotic country on the verge of becoming another Somalia.

Some 643 people were killed last year alone in violence and criminality is rising, according to a Libyan parliamentary commission.

Attacks targeting foreign chancelleries in Libya have increased since the bloody 11 September 2012 attack targeting the US consulate in Benghazi during which four Americans, including the ambassador died.

In February last year, the Italian consul in Benghazi escaped an attack after several gunshots were fired at his armoured car.

The series of attacks targeting diplomatic missions in Libya was followed in April last year by an attack against the French embassy in Tripoli, which left two people injured.

The Russian ambassador in Tripoli had been the object of attack perpetrated by angry protesters after a Russian national killed a Libyan army officer, an attack that left two assailants dead.

Other acts of violence were perpetrated against the Emirati embassy in Tripoli with a rocket fire but nobody was killed.

Added to these are attacks of all kinds perpetrated nearly everyday against foreign diplomats.

The consequence of the violence is that many diplomats have left Libya as most countries have reduced their diplomatic personnel in the country if they cannot close their embassies definitively.

An African diplomat accredited in Tripoli says that 'most diplomats have reduced their movements', adding that the Libyan authorities have told them that they cannot guarantee their security.

Actually, the setting up last March by the government of a police in charge of securing diplomatic missions in Libya could not prevent the attacks against foreign diplomats, especially Westerners, who have decided to take charge of their own security.

In addition to hundreds of armed militias who are out of the government control and are blamed for being behind the climate of insecurity, thousands of detainees have escaped from prisons since the Libyan revolution in 2011 that overthrew the Kaddafi regime.

The situation has favoured several acts of violence in the country.

“I strongly condemn the illegal behaviour that affect citizens as well as innocent foreigners,” said a communication engineer, Abderrahmane al-Gmati.

“Foreigners are serving the Libyan government and attacking them is harming the interests of the country,' he added.

Actually, many foreign companies have hesitated to return to Libya at the end of the eight-month bloody conflict, because of problems of insecurity.

Some companies which accepted to come back immediately left because of violence, insecurity and chaos prevailing in the country punctuated with clashes between tribes or rival militias.

The oil crisis, characterised by the closing of oil ports for several months, has seriously affected the country’s economy which needs foreign investments particularly, say analysts.

The crisis has seen production slump to less than one million barrels per day from 1.5 million barrels before the outbreak of the protest movement.

The development in several sectors to improve infrastructure before the uprising, including some which were near completion, have been abandoned because of insecurity.

This situation may once more isolate Libya, a country which needs foreign support to succeed in its democratic transition.

Summarizing the deadlock in Libya, a Libyan diplomat based in Cairo, asked: 'What can Libya do when its Prime minister himself was victim of kidnapping.'

Bassem Mohmed Droughi, a Libyan university professor, said under resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in 2011, Libya must be supported to end the crisis.

He called on the United Nations and countries from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to come and assist Libya as they did in 2011, and asked 'how come they have abandoned Libya in such a delicate phase'?

Human rights activists in Europe have not hesitated in openly blaming countries which intervened during the 2011 conflict to save Libyan civilians and but have left them to their fate once the regime of dictator Mouamar Kaddafi was ousted.