By Michel Cousins.
Paris, 23 August:
A former senior Libyan air force officer has disappeared from a French military hospital where he was . . .[restrict]being treated for neurological problems. Abdussalam Abudaja, a 68-year old former colonel, vanished without trace from the French army’s Val de Grâce hospital in Paris on August 6. The police have launched an investigation but so far have failed to find him.
According to the French newspaper Libération, Abudaja was sent to France for diagnosis by the Libyan authorities because he had come into contact with radioactive material during his military career. He was first treated at another French military hospital, the Percy Hospital in south-west Paris, but was transferred to the Val de Grâce in late July for further tests.
His family say that when they came to visit him on 6 August, he was not in his room. “I waited for four hours,” his cousin Najah Benmoftah was quoted as saying, “because we were told he had gone off for tests. But it was not the case.” She said that she was later shown a surveillance video of the colonel “dressed in a pyjama top, leaving the hospital alone by the front door.”
The family adds that Abudaja had a stroke while in hospital, was confused and incoherent and would have been incapable of returning to his room unaided. They want to know if he wandered off of his own accord, in which case why has he not been found, or whether he was abducted.
According to Reuters, a lawyer for the family, François Gibault , has called for witnesses. “It’s very strange”, he said. “It’s two weeks now. We fear the worst. He could have got lost. He could have been abducted or killed. He doesn’t speak any French and he doesn’t have any money or a credit card.”
The lawyers have accused the French military hospital of not cooperating.