Musa Abdul Kareem, an editor and photojournalist for the local newspaper Fasanea, was abducted the morning of July 31, 2018, and found dead later that day, according to the Libyan Center for Freedom of the Press and news reports.
In an article on its website, the Libyan Center for Freedom of the Press said that armed, masked men in two civilian vehicles captured Abdul Kareem after he left his home. An unidentified passerby found the journalist’s body hours later, blindfolded and hands bound, near the Sabha Health Institute and notified local security forces.
Abdul Kareem’s body had 13 bullet wounds and bore signs of torture, according to the privately owned TV station Al-Nabaa, which quoted Osama al-Wafi, a spokesperson for the Sabha Medical Center.
Amin Ahmed, a spokesperson for the independent Libyan Center for Freedom of the Press monitoring and documentation unit, told CPJ via Twitter that Abdul Kareem and his colleagues at the newspaper regularly were exposed to danger in the course of their reporting, due to the insecure and lawless environment pervading the city.
Sabha, which is along one of the main smuggling and transit routes for migrants from sub-Saharan Africa attempting to reach Europe, has been the scene of repeated clashes between armed groups loyal to the Libyan National Army based in eastern Libya and local armed groups loyal to the U.N. recognized government in Tripoli, according to news reports.
Ahmed said that Abdul Kareem co-authored an article for Fasanea three weeks before his death that detailed kidnappings and robberies in the city.
Ahmed told CPJ that Abdul Kareem, 24, had worked for Fasanea since 2015. The newspaper is Sabha-based and issued by Press Support and Promotion Authority, a Tripoli-based entity formed by Libya’s National Transition Council in the wake of the 2011 uprising with the stated goal of supporting a free and independent press.
According to CPJ research, Abdul Kareem covered the effects of the conflict in Libya on daily life in Sabha.
Ahmed told CPJ that Abdul Kareem had also worked in the Sabha municipal government’s media office.
Ahmed said that despite the threats that he and other journalists in the area faced, Abdul Kareem was widely known and loved in Sabha. “He had extensive knowledge of the city,” Ahmed told CPJ.