ARAMOUN, Lebanon: Two young brothers were abducted Wednesday, apparently at the behest of their mother, as they were on their way to school with their paternal grandfather in Mount Lebanon.
The mother, Nadine Akkawi, called a radio station after the incident to claim responsibility for the kidnapping, saying she had been denied access to the boys.
Their grandfather told police gunmen threatened him, although the mother said no force was involved.
“Two gunmen approached me as I walking my grandchildren to school and put a gun to my back, threatening to kill me if I moved,” Farouq al-Saadi told police immediately after the early morning kidnapping near Iman school in the Mount Lebanon village of Aramoun.
He said the armed men snatched the boys – Jad, 4, and Omar, 7 – shoved them into a waiting car where a man and a woman were sitting, and sped off.
Akkawi told the local radio station shortly that she was the boys’ mother and that she had been in the car during the abduction.
“I took my children because I haven’t seen them in two months,” she said sobbing.
Akkawi’s lawyer, Omar Skandarani, later issued a statement in which he denied his client had kidnapped her sons, but acknowledged she had taken them.
The statement said “there are several legal cases that my client has filed in front of the relevant religious courts, two of which are related to divorce and custody.”
He added that “the kids’ father prevented them from going to their original school, the German School, so that their mother would not be able to see them. He succeeded in this aim for two months.”
Skandarani went on to say “when the mother became aware of their presence at the Iman School she went and brought the kids back with her. What has been said about kidnapping at gunpoint is untrue and this is clear in the images recorded by the school’s camera.”
He said that “according to Islamic religious laws the ages of the two boys give the mother the right to custody.”