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U.N. demands release of abducted lawmaker and Haftar critic in eastern Libya

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By Reuters
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TRIPOLI (Reuters) – The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) demanded on Thursday the immediate release of lawmaker, Siham Sergewa, and her husband who were reportedly abducted at their house in the eastern city of Benghazi overnight.

Sergewa was known for being an outspoken critic of eastern Libya strongman Khalifa Haftar and his offensive on Tripoli, while advocating a political solution to the Libyan crisis.

In the latest turmoil since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Haftar’s Libyan National Army force has been unable to take Tripoli despite fighting that has caused havoc in the capital’s southern suburbs and displaced tens of thousands of civilians.

UNSMIL stresses that silencing the voices of women in decision-making position will not be tolerated,” the mission said in a statement.

The internationally recognised government in Tripoli also called for a disclosure of the whereabouts of Segewa, saying it holds security officials in Benghazi responsible for the abduction.

The security directorate in Benghazi, which serves as the police of Haftar’s eastern administration, denied on its official Facebook page the presence of Sergewa in any of its stations.

(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi, editing by G Crosse)