The Libyan security forces have freed ten kidnapped Syrians, including children, in the city of Riqdalin, about 120 km west of the capital Tripoli, the interior ministry has revealed.
The ministry said on Monday that the Information and Investigation Office and the Criminal Investigation Department of the Western Sahel Security Directorate had received a report about the kidnapping of a Syrian girl in the city of Riqdalin by unidentified persons.
“After collecting information related to the incident, the Libyan security forces arrested three suspects inside an abandoned house in the Riqdalin area,” explained the ministry. It added that during the arrest, the security forces found ten Syrians who had been kidnapped at gunpoint and were being held for ransom.
According to the official statement, the Syrians were kidnapped in front of the Dolphin Hotel in the city of Zuwara, while the kidnapped girl was transferred to Zuwara.
Syrian migrants generally arrive in Libya on flights operated by Cham Wings Company landing at Benina Airport in Benghazi, in eastern Libya. The airport is controlled by the Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Haftar. Migrants often use Libya as a base from which to try to get to Europe.
People smuggling from the Libyan coast has increased compared with other countries, due to weak security oversight. Although the authorities are aware of the size of the problem and the increasing cases of smuggling, they still face difficulties in challenging those responsible.