A senior Libyan oil official, abducted from the capital city of Tripoli, was released on Sunday after he had spent over two weeks in captivity, according to media reports. Samir Salem Kamal, who is Libya’s representative to the 12-nation Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), had been seized from Tripoli after leaving work on Jan. 15.
Kamal has been Libya's representative to OPEC for two years, according to media reports. He was also a senior manager at the planning and training department in Libya's Tripoli-based oil ministry. As of now, the circumstances of his kidnapping and the motives of his abductors remain unclear.
“He is well considering the situation; in good health, but a bit shaken up,” Kamal’s son reportedly told a local newspaper, adding that because Kamal was blindfolded, he could not identify his abductors.
Libya has been in a state of turmoil since armed rebels, belonging to a group known as Libya Dawn, took control of Tripoli last summer and established a rival government. The country’s internationally recognized government, headed by Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni, has been pushed to the eastern city of Tobruk. Both governments have also appointed rival oil officials.
According to media reports, the al-Thinni government had not nominated Kamal as its representative for the last OPEC meeting held in Vienna in November.
Amid the chaos in the strife-torn nation -- with competing militias claiming to control different parts of the country -- the identities of Kamal’s abductors has remained unclear as no group has so far claimed responsibility for the incident, according to media reports.
“Unfortunately, the people responsible for his kidnapping are still unknown as are the reasons unclear,” Kamal’s son reportedly said.