Senior Oil Official Kidnapped in Libya

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The Akakus Company, which operates Libya’s largest oil fields demanded that the whereabouts of its board member, Osama Lata’i who was kidnapped on Sunday evening be disclosed. This comes after disagreements about the National Oil Corporation’s (NOC) decision to restructure the company’s management.

Akakus Company, the operator of the El-Sharara oil field expressed its concern in a statement after the kidnapping of Lata’i, who was announced as the designated head of the Akakus Oil Operations Management Committee.

It stated that, “Lata’i’s car was found in the Znata area of Tripoli, with broken glass on the driver’s side.” It called on the competent authorities to reveal Lata’i’s fate and release him unconditionally.

In late October, the NOC condemned the “unlawful” arrest for its board member, Abulgasem Shengheer, who was stopped at Tripoli’s Mitiga Airport while returning from abroad with his family.

“Shengheer was arrested in an arbitrary and inappropriate manner that does not rise to the level of responsibility in dealing with a public and national figure,” it said in a statement on Saturday.

“A systematic war is being waged by a coalition of militias, smugglers, corrupt figures or politicians, ideologies and stakeholders, against the NOC in order to blackmail, infiltrate, politicize and redirect it from the neutral position it has maintained over the past years for the benefit all Libyans,” the statement added.

The NOC called on the Presidential Council, the Government of National Unity (GNU), and the Attorney General to take all legal measures and release Shengheer.

It also called on the UN, Amnesty International, and human rights organizations to immediately intervene and secure his release. It stated that it would hold the kidnappers responsible for his safe return.

The Corporation noted “its deep concern about such repeated militia actions that follow the policy of arbitrary and unofficial arrest of public figures, which may have serious repercussions on the conduct of operations in the oil sector.”