Tripoli, 16 July:
Libya’s Olympic committee president has been abducted by armed gunmen and his whereabouts remain unknown, it emerged today. The . . .[restrict]incident took place yesterday.
Nabil Elalem was in his car with a colleague when two vehicles carrying men in military-style uniforms blocked them off, according to the Reuters news agency.
“They told him he was needed and he had to go with them. He asked if he could take his phone and laptop with him and then the cars sped away with him,” said Arafat Jawan, another colleague of Elalem, adding that the other individual travelling with the committee president was left in the car.
Ezz-Edine Journaz, a spokesman for the committee, told an independent Libyan television channel that around eight or nine men had been involved in the kidnapping, that they had claimed to be from the army, and that they had asked him to come with them “politely”.
Sports and Youth Minister Fethi Tarbel said he had been informed about the matter and called for Elalem’s immediate release.
“We condemn this kind of action. Whoever did this are criminals,” he told Reuters by telephone. “This goes against the revolution, this brings us back to the Qaddafi culture … I don’t know if he had any issues with anyone.”
Libya’s small Olympic and Paralympic teams are due to compete in the London 2012 games in the UK, which begin later this month. Libya has yet to win a medal at the Olympics. [/restrict]