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Kidnapping business thrives in Libya

Kidnappings are on the rise in Libya, with hundreds who have disappeared since the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in 2011, while the UN-backed Government of National Accord does not seem to be offering much help.
Tunisian officials kidnapped by armed militia at the Tunisian Consulate in the Libyan captial, Tripoli, arrive at Aouina military airport in Tunis on June 19, 2015, following a week-long captivity. Tunisia said it was shutting its consulate in conflict-hit Libya as the 10 staffers who were abducted were released and heading home. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID        (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)
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The last time Arwa el-Shershary saw her three children — Dahab, Abd and Mohammad — was on Sept. 2, 2015. They were on their way to school when armed men stopped their vehicle in Surman, a city in Libya’s northwest. After shooting the driver five times in the leg, the men abducted her daughter and two sons from the backseat of the car. Dahab was 11 years old, Abd was 8 and Mohammad was 6.

Two days later, a man called the Shershary family to demand a ransom of 20 million Libyan dinars — more than $2 million in the current black market — but they couldn’t afford to pay.

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