BEIRUT: Gunmen kidnapped a 12-year-old boy Wednesday while he was waiting for a school bus in front of his home in the Beirut suburb of Jnah, security sources told The Daily Star.
The sources said Mohammad Nibal Awada was waiting for his school bus at 7 a.m. when four unidentified gunmen pulled up in a Nissan Sunny with tinted windows and snatched him.
The kidnappers fired one shot in the air, apparently to cover their escape, and headed toward south Lebanon, the sources added.
The boy’s father, Nibal, is a wealthy businessman who owns two dressmaking factories in Lebanon.
Relatives of Awada contacted Prime Minister Najib Mikati and urged him to increase his efforts in securing the release of the boy, Information Minister Walid Daouk said following the Cabinet session. Mikati will personally follow up on the case with the relevant security forces, Daouk added.
Following the news of Nibal’s kidnapping, State Prosecutor Hatem Madi held a meeting with senior security officials at his office and discussed the wave of kidnappings in several areas of Lebanon, the latest of which are Awada in Beirut and Nazih Nassar in the Bekaa Valley.
Nassar was kidnapped earlier this month in the Bekaa Valley on the road between Ferzol and Torbol with a $2 million ransom demanded by his captor's in exchange for his release.
The meeting was attended by the head of the Internal Security Forces Maj. Gen Ashraf Rifi, head of General Security Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, head of State Security Maj. Gen. George Qaraa, Army Intelligence chief Brig. Edmond Fadel and the head of the Information Branch at the ISF Col. Imad Othman.
A statement released after the meeting said probes had been launched in order to apprehend the kidnappers and rescue the victims. The officials discussed establishing new security measures that would end the growing trend of kidnappings.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 21, 2013, on page 4.