Libya’s OPEC Governor Samir Kamal was kidnapped last week in the militia-held capital of Tripoli, two officials familiar with the matter said Tuesday, as turmoil continues to ravage the north African country almost four years after the collapse of its central government.
Mr. Kamal, who is also the head of the planning department at the Tripoli-based government’s oil ministry, was last seen Thursday, said one official at the National Oil Corp., or NOC.
“Nobody knows why [he was kidnapped],” the official said. “Some people know where he is,” he added.
Another NOC official confirmed that Mr. Kamal was missing, but declined to give further details. No one has claimed responsibility for his kidnapping.
Kidnappings have become common in Libya, where oil fields have been seized by armed groups and control is divided between two rival governments.
The member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has been in chaos since the toppling of former strongman Moammar Gadhafi. It is now split between militias loyal to an internationally recognized government and a rival administration based in Tripoli and backed by Islamist groups and politicians.
The government in Tripoli, which hasn’t been recognized by the United Nations, has appointed its own oil minister Mashallah Zawi, who has been challenging the internationally recognized government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni, which named Mustafa Sanallah as chairman of NOC.
Samir Kamal is a member of the oil ministry run by the rival government in Tripoli that hasn’t been recognized the U.N.
A recovery in Libya’s oil production to as high as 900,000 barrels a day has been cut short by fighting between Islamist militia and the government in eastern Libya. Libya’s production capacity stands at about 1.5 million barrels a day, but disruptions have been frequent since the end of Moammar Gadhafi’s 42-year rule.
Source: Wall Street Journal