Last Updated: Mon Jul 16, 2012 09:34 am (KSA) 06:34 am (GMT)

Libyan Olympic chief taken by gunmen in Tripoli

Libyan sports and youth minister called for Libya’s Olympic committee president Nabil Elalem’s immediate release. (Reuters)
Libyan sports and youth minister called for Libya’s Olympic committee president Nabil Elalem’s immediate release. (Reuters)

Libya’s Olympic committee president was taken from his car by gunmen in Tripoli on Sunday and his whereabouts are unknown, colleagues said.

Nabil Elalem was in his car with a colleague when two cars carrying men in military-style clothing blocked them off, another colleague, Arafat Jwan, said.

“They told him he was needed and he had to go with them. He asked if he could take his phone and laptop with him and then the cars sped away with him,” Jwan said, adding that Elalem’s colleague was left in the car. It was not clear who the men were.

Ezz-Edine Journaz, a spokesman for the committee, told an independent Libyan television channel that the men had claimed to be from the army and had asked him to come with them “politely.” He said the group of about eight or nine were armed.

Sports and Youth Minister Fethi Tarbel said he had been informed about the matter and called for Elalem’s immediate release.

“We condemn this kind of action. Whoever did this are criminals,” he told Reuters by phone. “This goes against the revolution, this brings us back to the Qaddafi culture ... I don’t know if he had any issues with anyone.”

Since the end of last year’s uprising that toppled Muammar Qaddafi, the interim government has struggled to control a myriad armed groups who refuse to lay down their weapons and often take the law into their own hands and detain people.

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