By Michel Cousins.
Tripoli, 6 October:
The Libyan Red Crescent marked its 55th anniversary yesterday, Friday, with a call for the release of . . .[restrict]the seven Iranian Red Crescent workers who were kidnapped on 4 August while on a visit to Benghazi. The seven had arrived the day before at the invitation of the Libyan Red Crescent. Other than being permitted to make initial phone calls to their families, nothing has been heard of them since, although it is widely believed that some local security officials know who is holding them and where. They are thought to have been kidnapped by Islamic extremists.
The Libyan Red Crescent said although proud of its past achievements, it felt “ashamed” over the abduction of people it had invited. Its secretary-general, Abdulhamed Elmadani, said that it had damaged the image of the Libyan Red Crescent. He urged the the General National Congress and the government to do far more to secure the Iranians’ release.
In its statement commemorating the anniversary, the organisation noted that it had played “a significant role right from the beginning” of last year’s revolution by providing help and support for the needy and the displaced families caught up in the fighting.
A number of its volunteers had died while providing humanitarian help and first aid assistance during the fighting, it said, and many of its offices and buildings were destroyed.
Hundred of people had responded to the organisation’s need for volunteers at the time. It was also able to secure major aid from the International Red Cross as well as the World Food Programme and other agencies following its “numerous appeals” for help.