Two Omanis kidnapped in eastern Lebanon

The pair had taken a taxi from Beirut airport to the Bekaa before being stopped by armed men

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Two Omanis were kidnapped in the Baalbek area of eastern Lebanon on Thursday, a security official said.

“Two Omanis were abducted near Baalbek this evening,” (Thursday), the official said, adding that an investigation had been launched.

The official said the pair had taken a taxi from Beirut airport to the Bekaa.

He said the Syrian driver reported that armed men stopped the taxi when they got to the Bekaa area, and the Omanis were made to get out of the car.

The driver was allowed to go, and went to the police to report the incident, the official said, without adding what the motive for the kidnapping may be.

At the start of November, two German men kidnapped in eastern Lebanon were freed hours after their abduction, but police immediately arrested them on drug trafficking charges, the official National News Agency reported at the time.

The Bekaa Valley, on the border with war-hit Syria, is a lawless but fertile region where drug cultivation and trafficking has flourished for years.

The area is a bastion of the powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah, but also home to powerful tribes, some of which produce hashish in defiance of the law.