BEIRUT: Two Libyans have been arrested by Libyan authorities over their suspected involvement in the 1978 disappearance of Imam Musa Sadr, according to a senior Lebanese political source familiar with the issue.
The source told The Daily Star that the Libyan authorities had detained the two men, and were currently searching for a number of other individuals believed to have been involved in the 1978 disappearance of the influential Shiite religious figure while on a visit to the North African country.
The Libyan authorities, the source said, made the disclosures when they briefed a Lebanese Foreign Ministry delegation that recently visited Libya on progress on the case.
The effort by the Libyans, the source said, inspired “confidence” because of their seriousness in tackling the issue.
Lebanese Foreign Ministry officials were informed that a thorough investigation into the case involved a number of complications, due to the massive nature of the task.
Bab al-Aziziyah, the compound of the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, hid a “number of aziziyahs” underneath, meaning that the process of sifting through records and potential evidence represented a time-consuming task.
The above-ground Bab al-Aziziyah was destroyed by Libyan rebels in August when they overran the capital.
“There are many, many places that need to be searched” to uncover relevant evidence in the Sadr case, the source continued.
“The Libyans also relayed their shame that Libyan nationals were apparently involved” in the Sadr disappearance, the source added.
Lebanese officials were told by their hosts that the situation in Libya “remains chaotic” but that officials were working hard on uncovering the details behind Sadr’s fate, and were currently looking for an undetermined number of other people wanted in connection to the case.
In Beirut, Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour was briefed Friday by Haitham Joumaa, the director general of emigrants, who headed the Lebanese delegation that traveled to Libya last month to discuss the case.
Mansour affirmed that the Sadr disappearance was the subject of “daily” follow-up by Libyan officials, and that the Libyans had tasked the country’s Higher Security Committee with pursuing the investigation.
He said his ministry was also engaged in contacts to pave the way for an “anchoring of fraternal Lebanese-Libyan relations in all fields.”