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Haftar forces kidnap civilians in Libya

Self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) Chief of Staff, Khalifa Haftar arrives for a conference on Libya on November 12, 2018 at Villa Igiea in Palermo [FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images]
Self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) Chief of Staff, Khalifa Haftar arrives for a conference on Libya on 12 November 2018 [FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images]

Forces loyal to Libya's renegade Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar have kidnapped two Turkish workers in the North African state, Anadolu has reported. Nurettin Calik and Halil Gozel were taken almost a year ago, but the news has just been made public now.

"My older brother went [to Libya] to earn money," explained Mehmet Calik. "He isn't guilty of anything. He went there to pay his debts, but unfortunately he's now held [by Haftar's forces]."

Gozel's 27-year-old daughter Meltem said that her father had been working in Libya for many years. She added that his family members are very distressed about losing contact with him and concerned about his fate. "We tried to contact him after that date, but there was a network problem. We were concerned when we had not heard from him," she explained.

Italian fishermen held hostage in Libya were freed last year after more than 100 days in captivity. In 2019, Haftar militias also kidnapped two journalists during the battle for Tripoli. Last week, the UN warned that kidnapping threatens to make security conditions in Libya much worse.

The UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord has been battling warlord Khalifa Haftar's forces since April 2019. On 23 October, the warring parties agreed on a ceasefire after UN mediation, paving the way for political dialogue and an agreement. However, Haftar militias have apparently broken the ceasefire a number of times.

READ: Libyan jailed for life for UK attack that killed three

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