Top UN relief official in Libya welcomes release of aid workers held captive for months

WFP providing humanitarian assistance in Libya. Photo: WFP

12 November 2015 – Two Libyan humanitarian workers affiliated with aid agencies were released on 7 November after being held captive for five months, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the country, Ali Al-Za’tari, said today, welcoming their release.

“As much as we are delighted by the safe return of the two workers to their families, we wish to emphasise the need for the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance across the country,” Mr. Al-Za’tari said in a news release issued by United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

According to the news release, aid workers Mohamed al-Monsef Ali al-Sha’lali and Walid Ramadan Salhub were delivering humanitarian assistance to areas in southwestern Libya when they were abducted on 5 June 2015 in al-Shwayrif in southern Libya.

The two men worked for the Shaik Tahir Azzawy Charity Organization, an implementing partner for a number of international humanitarian agencies.

“The delivery of crucial aid to those in need is a noble cause that should be shielded and made immune from all disputes,” said Mr. Al-Za’tari, recalling that hostage-taking and intentionally directing attacks against civilian personnel involved in humanitarian assistance are war crimes.

Further, he thanked all those who were involved in efforts to secure the release of the two men, including the elders and officials of al-Zawiya, al-Shwayrif and Sabha, as well as the elders of the al-Magarha tribe.

Lastly, Mr. Al-Za’tari urged all other communities with similar cases to follow suit and engage in efforts to secure the release of all those illegally detained.

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Top UN humanitarian official in Libya calls for immediate release of abducted aid workers

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