Six medical workers abducted by a local armed group in Zintan, Libya, were freed on October 23, 2019, after 12 days of captivity, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.
“The Zintan authorities should ensure that the captors are held to account.” Human Rights Watch indicated.
The six medical workers were part of a larger humanitarian convoy passing through the Nafussa mountains on their way to the town of Ghadames, where they were to provide free medical care, their family members told Human Rights Watch.
The family members said they believed the captors were trying to gain leverage for the release of a man imprisoned in Tripoli for undisclosed reasons.
“Nothing can justify grabbing medical workers and holding them as bargaining chips for the release of an imprisoned man,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
“The authorities in Zintan should do what they can to hold the captors to account to deter future attacks of this type.” He added.
The six workers included three doctors and an anaesthetic technician from Tripoli Central Hospital, a surgical nurse from the al-Hadba General Hospital, and a surgeon from the Abu Salim Trauma Hospital.