Abou Faour Briefs Families of Arsal Captives on Cabinet Endeavors
Health Minister Wael Abou Faour briefed on Friday the relatives of Arsal captives, who are holding a sit-in on the eastern Dahr al-Baydar road, on cabinet discussions regarding the abduction ordeal.
“They have the right to know everything and the government’s stance on this case,” Abou Faour told reporters.
He stressed that the cabinet is unified on the importance of “freeing the abducted soldiers and policemen within the available means.”
On Thursday, the government renewed the mandate given to the crisis cell and (General Security chief) Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim in the case of the troops.
The minister reiterated that the abduction case is the government’s priority.
“The cabinet positively discussed the case but didn’t finalize the option of any possible swap between the aductees and Roumieh prison Islamist inmates,” Abou Faour added.
The families of the Arsal captives, who were taken hostage by Islamist jihadists when withdrawing from the northeastern border town in August, had continuously demanded the cabinet to carry out the demands of the militants that include the release of several inmates.
Asked about the ongoing road closure by the relatives of the abducted soldiers and policemen, Abou Faour told the press that “the matter became a burden on them and the Lebanese people… They are asked to take the adequate decision.”
He hailed the role played by Qatar, describing the exerted endeavors as “positive.”
The Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front on Thursday poured cold water on recent optimism in Lebanon over the case of the captive troops, noting that it has not pledged not to execute more soldiers.
The militants have executed three of captives so far and are threatening to kill more hostages if the Lebanese government does not meet their demands.
The Islamist gunmen reportedly have a list of demands, including the withdrawal of Hizbullah from the battles in Syria and the release of ten Syrian inmates held at Roumieh prison in return for each captive soldier and policeman.
Later LBCI reported that the families of Ibrahim Mgheit and Mohammed Youssef received phone calls for the first time from their kidnapped sons.