No news of kidnapped of Jordanian ambassador but Interior Ministry “has leads”

By Libya Herald staff.

Tripoli, 16 April 2014:

There has been news of the Jordanian Ambassador, Fawwaz Al-Eitan, who was seized yesterday morning in central Tripoli by masked gunmen.  However, the Interior Ministry continues to follow up a number of leads.


Libya Herald

Fighting subsides in Sebha as reconciliation talks get underway

Tripoli, 22 January 2014:

Fighting in and around Sebha has calmed down as reconciliation talks in the town gather momentum.

Vanished Chinese hero prompts demo at Beijing’s embassy

Mohamed Najah and Aimen Eljali

Tripoli, 2 September 2013:

The alleged imprisonment and death sentence on a Chinese-born hero of the Libyan revolution led to angry protests outside the Chinese embassy in Tripoli today.

The 50 or so demonstrators believed that Yousef Bo Wang, a convert to Islam, who during the Revolution played a distinguished role helping evacuate wounded fighters to Tunisia, was kidnapped in Turkey on his way to Beijing.

Oil sector workers protest outside Congress

By Ahmed Elumami.

Tripoli, 2 September 2013:

Over a hundred oil sector workers protested outside Congress today, demanding that the General National Congress (GNC) and the government reopen the country’s oil fields and export terminals.

Members of the Oil and Gas Sector Workers Union (OGSWU), in cooperation with civil society organisations, said they were taking to the streets as a last resort. All other attempts to get the authorities to act had, they said, failed.

Treasured family car comes home

Belgassem Muntasser at the wheel of his father classic Mercedes 220S Read more: (Photo: Libya Herald)

Belgassem Muntasser at the wheel of his father classic Mercedes 220S
(Photo: Libya Herald)

By Michel Cousins.

Tripoli, 1 September 2013:

Mercedes Benz cars are not a common sight on Libya’s streets, unlike in the rest of North Africa and the Middle East, But it was not always so. Before Qaddafi seized power exactly forty-four years ago they were everywhere. Even the taxis were Mercedes. The reason they disappeared was that they were one of Qaddafi’s pet hates, of which he had many. He associated them with businessmen – another hate.

Mercedes now plans a major comeback in the country. But one very special Mercedes, although not exactly new, has already arrived.

September trial for Saif and Senussi

Tripoli, 30 August 2013:

Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi, one of the former dictator’s sons, and his spy chief Abdullah Senussi are among 30 former regime officials who will stand trial in September, according to Libya’s Attorney General.


Malta could help Libya harness tourism potential

Photos by Luis M Cordeiro Malta

Photos by Luis M Cordeiro

Tripoli, 29 August 2013:

Malta could serve as both an example and partner for Libya in the country’s efforts to become a tourist destination, following talks between Libyan and Maltese Tourism Ministers.

Clashes between Wershefana and Zawia end

By Houda Mzioudet.

Tripoli, 25 August 2013:

Clashes between Zawia and the Wershefana tribe ended yesterday as the Prime Minister sent in army units to separate the two sides and called on them to enter into dialogue. About 20 anti-aircraft cars were later seen heading to Zawia yesterday. The situation still remains tense, however, according to residents.

Residents in Zawia confirmed to the Libya Herald that shooting had stopped after continuing violence on Friday night. The clashes in Maya, near Zawia had been particularly violent, with heavy weaponry being used. “We could not sleep because of it,” one resident said.

In a statement issued yesterday by the Prime Minister’s office, Ali Zeidan said he deplored the unfortunate events and called for an end to the fighting and a dialogue between the sides. He also condemned the excessive use of weapons by people who had no authority to use them, being neither the army nor the police.

In his statement, Zeidan said he had been in a session until 3am yesterday morning with the President of Congres Nuri Abu Sahmain, the Minister of Defence, Abdullah Al-Thinni, and other security officials and were in constant contact with both sides. He said that he had ordered forces to the area. Zeidan called upon both sides to end the fighting.

Zeidan also called on all Libyans to hand in weapons and rid the country of illegal arms. They were a source of danger, with a succession of armed robberies. He said his call extended to brigades as well.

Meanwhile, an oil tanker driver who asked to remain anonymous, told the Libya Herald that drivers had been staging a sit-in at Zawia oil refinery during the last couple of days and had refused to work because of the security situation resulting from the clashes. However, another source at the refinery said today that the situation was under control following the arrival of Libyan military forces sent on the Prime Minister’s orders.

The Ministry of Defence is expected to make a statement on the situation tomorrow.

With additional reporting by Aimen Eljali and Seraj Essul

Libya Herald

Libya’s desert gazelles under threat of extinction

By Seraj Essul and Reem Tombokti

photographer unknown

photographer unknown

Tripoli, 10 August 2013:

Two years of unregulated hunting in the south of the country has left three types of Libyan gazelle on the verge of extinction.

“We had a wealth of these gazelles, but sadly their numbers have gone down and they are now facing extinction,” the chairman of the Al-Haya Association for the Protection of Wildlife, Ibraheem Al-Gahwajy, told the Libya Herald.

The problem is most acute in the south of the country, near the borders of Chad and Algeria, the main habitat for ‘Rhim’ and ‘Dorcas’ gazelles. The ‘Oueddan’ gazelle, which inhabits the Haruj mountains of central Libya, is also said to be facing exteniction.

For many years, under the old regime, the hunting of gazelles was banned. However, since the revolution, the practice has taken off as a sport and is, at present, completely unregulated.

“It is a desire to murder, rather than a hunting hobby,” Al-Haya’s president Saleh Nuwaiji said. The proliferation of weapons and the increasing ownership of four-wheel drive vehicles were, he said, partly responsible for the rise in popularity of gazelle-hunting. He also pointed the finger of blame at a lack of legislation regulating the sport, as well as local ignorance about breeding seasons, which led to indiscriminate killings even of young animals.

The full severity of the problem has only recently come to light, after videos appeared on YouTube showing people hunting at sites across the Libyan desert.

With numbers dwindling to worrying levels at the hands of bloodthirsty hunters, Libyan environmental activists are now calling for an end to what they say is an “eradication campaigns against gazelles.” The activists are asking the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment, as well as civil society organisations, to take responsibility for the country’s wildlife and fight gazelle poaching.

Al-Haya has also emphasised the important role that nature reserves could have in protecting the gazelles. “Nature Reserves need to be reassessed because so far they haven’t provided any protection to this species,” said Ghawajy.

There is one area that would, apparently, be particularly suitable. It features rugged terrain, which has access points only through three valleys which, according to Nuwaiji, would be relatively simple to turn into a nature reserve that could help save the gazelles from extinction. He added that the reserve could initially be populated by privately-owned gazelles of which, he said, there are around 70 in the country.

“Our hopes are big and we know this will take time,” Ghawajy said. Until the government takes action, the Al-Haya Association continues to raise awareness of the problem by giving public lectures across the country.

Libya Herald

Libyans freed in Tunisia for Eid

Tunis, 8 August 2013:

Tunisia has released 21 convicted Libyan prisoners. They were among 343 prisoners pardoned by Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki to mark Eid Al-Fitr, two-thirds of whom had less than three months of their sentebnces left to serve. A further 981 prisoners are reported by the Tunisian news agency TAP to had their sentences reduced by Marzouki, but it is now known if there are any Libyans among them.

The Libyan Consul-General in Tunis, Mohammed Ferjani, was quoted by the Libyan new agency LANA as saying that the 23 were released as a result of the efforts of the Libyan diplomats in Tunisia.

The freed Libyans have not been named nor their crimes announced. However, most, if not all, are thought to have been serving time for drugs offences. Most Libyans in jail in Tunisia are said to have been drugs dealers.

According to the Tunisian Minister of Justice, Nadhir Ben Ammou, none of those released – Libyans or Tunisians – were convicted terrorists.

This is the sixth time that Libyans have been included in a Tunisian presidential general amnesty.  In March 23 Libyans were freed on the occasion of Tunisian Independence Day.

Libya Herald