BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Three remain captive after revenge kidnapping in north Lebanon

Syrian soldiers walk in a field in the Syrian village of Al Arida Al Gharbia as seen from the northern Lebanese village of Wadi Khaled near the Lebanese-Syrian border April 10, 2012. REUTERS/Omar Ibrahim

BEIRUT: Residents from the north Lebanon region of Wadi Khaled released Sunday several men they kidnapped in the area earlier in the day in revenge for the morning abduction of a man who is now thought to be in Syria.

Three people, two Syrian and one Lebanese identified as Hikmat Yousef Khalil from Ain Zayt, of the original six thought to have been kidnapped by the residents remain captives.

Rami Khozaal, the mayor of Wadi Khaled, told The Daily Star that the men were kidnapped following the abduction of Mohammad Suleiman.

Sleiman, who hails from Wadi Khaled, was kidnapped at 6.30 a.m. in Masoudieh in circumstances that remain unclear although he is thought to have been handed over to Syrian authorities.

Angered by the news of Suleiman’s abduction, residents of Wadi Khaled staged a protest, blocking the main road in their area and called on the government to intervene and resolve the issue.

The blocking of roads by burning tires soon escalated to the erection of makeshift checkpoints, where people’s identification documents were searched.

Khalil and four Syrians were snatched at these checkpoints.

The Lebanese Army deployed in the Akkar region, north Lebanon, to prevent possible clashes between residents.

Asked whether such abductions might lead to direct clashes between residents, Khozaal said Wadi Khaled could turn into another Tripoli.

The northern city of Tripoli witnessed two separate deadly clashes last month that left at least 24 killed and over 100 wounded, sparking fears of a spike in sectarian tensions across the country.

 

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