Lebanon: kidnappers of 9-year-old boy remain free

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A week after the son of Lebanese businessman Ibrahim Sakr was released by his kidnappers, the suspects still remain free.

The 9-year old boy, Michael, was reportedly taken in front of his house by a gang close to the Amal movement, a Lebanese political group allied with the country’s Shiite Hezbollah movement.

The gang is reportedly well known in the Beqaa governorate for kidnapping and stealing vehicles, the boy’s father says.

Retired General Hesham Jaber says gangs steal cars in Beqaa to sell them to Syrians. In many cases, the vehicles are loaded with drugs and are frequently booby trapped with explosives to create car bombs.

Sakr calls for the government to stop protecting the organization, claiming it is supported by Hezbollah.

The organization is in alliance with Hezbollah, a Shia Islamic group which has a contentious relationship with the country, having been called a state within a state.

Kassem Kassir, a political analyst close to Hezbollah, says that the militant organization has historically protected these gangs in the past for tribal, sectarian and political reasons.

Kassir sites this as the reason for Mr. Sakr's appeal to the Lebanese government to intervene in the Amal movement's activities as the group is clearly supported by Hezbollah.

Hezbollah openly fights alongside the Bashar al-Assad regime in the now three year Syrian civil war.