By Ashraf Abdullah Wahab
Tripoli, 7 September 2013:
Anoud Senussi, the daughter of Qaddafi’s former spy chief, is understood to have been released this . . .[restrict]evening by her kidnappers and flown to Sebha, where she was greeted at the airport by celebratory gunfire from members of the Magarha tribe, to which her family belongs.
The group that kidnapped “for her own protection” as she left Tripoli’s Al-Ruwaimi prison, said that her release had been made under the auspices of the International Commission of the Red Cross.
A picture published on the Facebook page of the Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade shows Senussi leaving a room, with someone who appears to be from the ICRC.
The release of the 20 year-old Senussi comes at the end of a several days of confusion. Senussi was driven out of Al-Ruwaimi last Monday, after being held in jail for ten months, for rentering the country on a false passport.
The three-car convoy in which she was travelling, which included a vehicle carrying a deputy justice minister, was stopped some 100 metres from the prison gates by five trucks of armed men, who seized Senussi.
There were immediate concerns for her safety. The Tripoli rumour mill went into overdrive with talk of multi-million dinar ransom demands and even assertions that she had already been murdered by her abductors.
On Wednesday, the Magarha tribe around Sebha briefly cut the power to water pumps on the Man-Made River. They threatened to stop all water flows to the west of the country, unless Anoud Senussi was freed. In response to this threat, people from Ghariyan began stopping trucks heading south to Sebha, detaining some 300 vehicles in 48 hours.
It was also on Wednesday that the first definite news of Senussi emerged. Sebha congressman Abdul Hadi Ahmed Ashrief told the Libya Herald she had been taken by men from the First Special Unit of the SSC, for her own protection. He added that she was now in Tripoli with family members but was expected to join her mother in either Mauritania or Egypt within a matter of days.
The point now at issue was whether Senussi was effectively a free agent or whether she was still kidnapped. Speaking to this newspaper yesterday, Justice Minister Salah Marghani appeared to have had no doubt that she remained a kidnap victim.
He indicated that talks were going on with the abductors. But he added: “I’m not commenting on this thing now until it ends. It’s at a critical point and I don’t want to cause harm to anybody.”
It would appear that those talks succeeded, bringing to an end a puzzling incident which has made unfavourable headlines around the world. Amnesty International was particularly critical of Senussi’s abduction, asking:”How can the Libyan authorities claim that they are able to deliver fair trials, and apply the law in the most prominent, politically-sensitive cases, when they are manifestly unable to ensure the basic safety of detainees?” [/restrict]