Lebanon News

Army rescues Syrian abducted in Bekaa region

One of the shrines in Bsharri that was robbed.(The Daily Star/Antoine Amrieh)

BEIRUT: Army intelligence personnel rescued Syrian national Abdel-Mouin Awwam hours after he was abducted, according to a statement issued by the Army Tuesday.

Awwam, 39, went missing Monday in the Bekaa region after a vehicle intercepted him and took him to an unknown destination.

The Army located the kidnappers in Shoueifat, Mount Lebanon and carried out a rescue mission, arresting Hussein Miqdad, Ahmad Jalwan and Palestinian national Louay Daoud. According to the statement, the kidnappers had demanded $75,000 in ransom.

Separately, Catholic Archimandrite Jean Faraj was carjacked in the Bekaa Valley, security sources said Tuesday.

They said four gunmen intercepted Faraj as he drove his Mercedez-Benz Monday night on the Torbol road in the Bekaa Valley, briefly detaining him.

The gunmen demanded $5,000 in exchange for the stolen Mercedes, said the sources. But Faraj, who did not have that amount on him, left the car to the muggers and reported the incident to the local police station.

The crime was condemned by several political and religious figures and groups including Sidon MP Bahia Hariri, Zahle MPs bloc, Internal Security Forces Commander Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi, the Progressive Socialist Party, Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorius Lahham III, the Catholic Higher Council and the Maronite League.

Meanwhile, thieves broke and robbed the donation boxes of seven roadside shrines in the Bsharri village of Hasroun Monday night. Bsharri MPs Strida Geagea and Elie Kayrouz spoke with the police about the thefts and confirmed the need to find and punish the perpetrators. The village priest, Father Antonius Jabbara, also condemned the acts.

Elsewhere, three men in a Honda taxi robbed a man in Ouzai after threatening him with a knife. Marwan Arabi took a cab Monday night from Cola in Beirut to the town of Khaldeh and when the driver reached the Beirut suburb of Ouzai, one of the passengers held two knives to Arabi’s face, threatening to kill him if he didn’t hand over his wallet and mobile phone. According to Arabi, the wallet contained $1,150 and his identification papers.

Similarly, near the Beirut southern suburb of Shiyah, two armed men in a taxi, impersonating police officers, intercepted two Syrian men and requested their papers. As soon as the armed men received the wallets, they fled. According to the Syrian nationals, the wallets contained around $1,000 in total and the two men’s ID papers.

Separately, in Nabatieh, police arrested Tuesday the driver in a hit-and-run that killed 12-year-old Bilal Halal on the Nabatieh-Deir Zahrani main road Sunday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 14, 2012, on page 4.




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