Tripoli schoolgirl abductions raise questions
By Essam Mohamed in Tripoli for Magharebia – 30/09/2013
Tripoli teachers staged a sit-in outside Tahrir School last Thursday (September 26th) to protest the reported kidnapping of a colleague's daughter.
A 14-year-old was snatched Wednesday while waiting for her mother in front of an all-girls school in the capital. According to witnesses, two armed young men grabbed the girl and forced her into an unregistered car with tinted windows.
More demonstrations to call attention to the crisis were held after Friday prayers in several Tripoli neighbourhoods.
Some 47 young women have recently been abducted throughout the country, a teacher told Libya Al Ahrar TV.
Government officials, however, denied any kidnapping problem in Libya.
"Biased and weak people are disseminating stories on social networking pages about the abduction of a number of girls and students from schools within the city," the National Security Directorate in Tripoli said on Friday. The directorate added that police stations had not received any abduction claims.
Kidnapping is "an alien phenomenon to Libyan society", Colonel Salaheddine Essamoui said.
"The kidnapping of a girl is reported from a particular place. Then the story is dramatised, followed by shouting and intimidation. We then take legal action. Days later, we hear that the girl has returned to her family, so we contact them in order to get a confirmation, and they do confirm the story," the Ain Zara police chief added.
Hashim Bishr, the head of the Supreme Security Committee in Tripoli, said that there was "no truth whatsoever to the kidnapping of girls, "neither forty nor ten".
"Most of the reported cases turn out days or even hours later to be cases of girls running away from home, or cases due to social or moral problems," he added.
But according to Tripoli teacher Youssef Albuaiche, security patrols should be posted in front of schools, as well as on streets adjacent to schools.
Human rights activist, Rajab Aljugdaf suggested "an immediate investigation by the Tripoli security chief and sharing the results of the investigation to preserve the honour of Libyan men and women, and the state of law".
"Delinquency under the cover of abduction has become a phenomenon that is the subject of widespread rumours," social activist Awatif Lamloum told Magharebia. "People panic and believe the lie of a girl's abduction."
"While we know that there is truth in some of the kidnappings, it is not to the extent that we hear every day." she added.
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