UN mission in Libya welcomes release of kidnapped doctor

A fence displays the United Nations (UN) logo outside its headquarters in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 22. 2020. Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The United Nations Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) welcomed the release of a renowned orthopaedic surgeon who was abducted by armed uniformed men earlier this month.

FILE PHOTO: A fence displays the United Nations (UN) logo outside its headquarters in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Dr. Siddiq Khalfallah Ben Della, who is also the deputy head of al-Khadra Hospital, had been kidnapped in ‘11 June District’ in Tripoli on December 1.

The Interior Ministry of Libya’s UN-backed government had earlier on Sunday announced that security forces had freed the doctor and arrested the kidnappers.

The UNSMIL also condemned the incident and called for a “full and independent” investigation into his kidnapping.

“UNSMIL welcomes the release of Dr Siddiq Ben Della, after 4 days of his abduction, and calls for a full and independent inquiry into this incident and all incidents of arbitrarily detention, kidnapping perpetrated by armed groups who continue to undermine the rule of law across Libya,” UNSMIL said.

Members of the international community, including the U.N., U.S. and Canada, had expressed outrage over the kidnapping of the 66-year-old university professor and called for his immediate and unconditional release.

They also expressed alarm at the rising level of criminality across Libya at the hands of armed groups whose operations were going unchecked in the North African country.

Libya was plunged into chaos after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted and killed long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi. It is currently split between the U.N.-supported government in the capital, Tripoli, and rival authorities based in the east. The two sides are supported by an array of local militias in addition to regional and foreign powers.