HERMEL, Lebanon: A Lebanese hailing from the Bekaa Valley town of Arsal was kidnapped Wednesday evening, and the abductors demanded $100,000 for his release, a security source told The Daily Star.
Mohammad Hujeiri was driving his pickup to the cattle market in the Bekaa Valley city of Baalbek when he was snatched along with his vehicle in the area, the source said, requesting to remain anonymous.
Later, abductors telephoned Hujieri’s family saying they would only release him if they were paid a ransom of $100,000.
Wednesday’s kidnapping was the first in several weeks, after kidnap-for-ransom operations – which had reached unprecedented levels in the Bekaa Valley in previous months – significantly dropped as authorities began implementing a security plan in the area in April.
In a statement last week, the Internal Security Forces said car theft and kidnap-for-ransom incidents had significantly declined in the Bekaa Valley and north Lebanon in March and April compared to the same months of last year. The statement credited the security plan carried out by the ISF and the Lebanese Army.
The plan was endorsed by the national unity government of Tammam Salam, which approved similar measures in Tripoli. The northern coastal city has seen several rounds of violence between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad since the start of Syria’s uprising in March 2011.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 15, 2014, on page 3.