British newspaper reporter missing in Libya

10th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

British newspaper The Guardian said Thursday that one of its correspondents had gone missing in Libya and it was urgently trying to establish his whereabouts.

Iraqi national Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, who has been reporting from western Libya for the past two weeks, was last in touch with the daily through a third party on Sunday.

He was on the outskirts of Zawiyah, a town west of the capital which has seen fierce fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.

"The Guardian has been in contact with Libyan government officials in Tripoli and London and asked them to urgently give all assistance in the search for Abdul-Ahad and to establish if he is in the custody of the authorities," the newspaper said in a statement.

Abdul-Ahad has worked for The Guardian since 2004, reporting from Somalia, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan, the daily said.

He has won the British Press Awards foreign reporter of the year prize, and was shortlisted again this year.

He was travelling with Andrei Netto of the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, who is also missing, The Guardian said.

The news comes after three BBC journalists in Libya said they had been arrested, beaten and subjected to a mock execution.

The trio were arrested on Monday at a checkpoint six miles (10 kilometres) south of Zawiyah, the BBC said.

The men were then taken to a military barracks in Tripoli where they "suffered repeated assaults" by members of Libya's army and secret police before being released 21 hours later. All three have now left the country.

© 2011 AFP

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