Thousands of Libyans and Africans from other parts of the continent are being held by the US-trained rebels now controlling Libya. The racist policies are being further exposed internationally., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Family of Libya Olympic chief urge govt to find him
TRIPOLI, July 17 (Reuters) - The family of Libya's Olympic committee president said on Tuesday - two days after gunmen grabbed him and took him away - they still did not know where he was, and urged the government to do more to find him.
Nabil Elalem was in his car with a colleague when two cars carrying armed men in military-style clothing blocked the road, told him he had to go with them and sped away, colleagues said.
"There are rumours going round about his whereabouts but we do not know where he is," his brother Khaled Elalem told Reuters.
"The state should be doing more. We are calling on the International Olympic Committee and all Olympic committees around the world to get involved in this matter so that he can return to his family."
Khaled said his family had demonstrated in front of the interior ministry on Monday and that he had met the prosecutor general to ask for his help in finding his brother.
Since the end of the uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi last year, the interim government has struggled to impose its authority on numerous armed groups who refuse to lay down their weapons and often take the law into their own hands.
Mustafa El-Huni, deputy chairman of the ruling National Transitional Council, said on Monday the authorities were working on securing Elalem's release.
"We are doing our best to track him down," said Omar Rahal of the Tripoli military council.
Elalem, a former Libyan judo champion, took charge of Libya's Olympic body after its president Mohammed Gaddafi, one of Muammar Gaddafi's sons, fled to Algeria last August.
His deputy said late on Monday he hoped Elalem would be released "in the next few hours".
Libya's representatives at the London Olympic Games, which begin on July 27, are due to head to the British capital in a few days. The team of about 10 athletes is set to compete in judo, swimming, athletics and weight-lifting.
Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, said on Monday the IOC had been in contact with the Libyan Olympic Committee. (Reporting by Ali Shuaib; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; editing by Tim Pearce.
July 17, 2012
Libya's Former Rebels Pose Challenge
by Al Pessin
TRIPOLI — The fighters who defeated Libya's Moammar Gadhafi last year now pose a challenge for the fledgling democracy they helped create. Many of them have refused to give up their weapons, demanding a series of laws to protect them.
A year and a half ago, electrical engineer Omran Al-Awayeb took up arms to defend his neighborhood against Gadhafi forces.
Now he commands a part-time band of rebels who are still worried about their country's future.
"Continue the revolution, this is our main job," he says. "We are afraid to make a bad country or a lazy government or go back to the old government or the old country."
Al-Awayeb leads a group of rebel commanders who feel that their uprising does not get the respect it deserves.
"This is our war," he says. "This is Libyan war. We should believe in this war, and take it as history for us because we got freedom from this war. But what I see now, the government is trying to forget this war. No, this is our war."
The commanders want Gadhafi supporters out of the Libyan government and Army and they want immunity for anything rebel troops did during last year’s eight-month uprising.
“When we caught some soldiers we were killing them," he says. "What can we do with them? We didn’t have a jail, didn’t have time to put them [anywhere]. They are our enemy. If that was wrong, our war was wrong.”
The commander says his group wants to work through politics, not violence. But nine months under an unelected interim government have been frustrating.
"The government is going slowly, so, so, so slowly," says Al-Awayeb. "So many things can happen."
It has been a hard and unexpected journey for Omran Al-Awayeb and his men. But lately they have been spending the long hot summer days in mundane pursuits on makeshift bases. And while they have not been involved in any violent incidents, he admits anger has grown. With a new, elected, government set to take office soon, the commander counsels a longer view.
"If we are going step by step, even if it's slowly, that's OK," he says. "But if we stop or go back, that's a problem."
Commander Al-Awayeb says most rebels want to lay down their arms or join the army, but only after their key demands are met, and only after they are sure the country is on a solid path toward democracy.