The two Tunisian journalists missing in Libya since September, Sofiane Chourabi and Nadhir Gtari, are still alive according to the head of Information and Culture Authority, Omar Gaweiri. “We are working to get them free”, he told Libya Herald but aske the media and politicians, particularly in Tunisia, not to sensationalise or exploit the case.
He would not disclose any details where the two were or who was holding them.
They were kidnapped near Ajdabiya, supposedly by Islamists. Last month claims were published on a Facebook page, purportedly that of the Islamic Emirate of Cyrenaica, the political entity set up in the east of the country by the Islamic State, that the two had been executed by IS. However, that was subsequently denied by the former Tunisian Ambassador to Libya, Ridha Boukadi. He said that the two would inevitably be released but that “the situation in Libya is becoming increasingly complicated, which threatens the two journalists’ lives more than ever”.
Their release has not happened so far and Boukadi, who was seen as having a channel of communications to the kidnappers because of his alleged Muslim Brotherhood connections, has since resigned as ambassador. Some reports say he was forced to quit because of those links although it is also reported that he still involves himself in Libyan affairs.
Referring to the case of the two Tunisians, Gawairi said that all foreign journalists wanting to visit Libya were welcome but that they should make contact with his authority first so that it could organise their interviews and let them know where was safe for them to go.