(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
Ryan Remiorz / Canadian Press
Earlier last month, a Canadian and two Italians safely arrived in Italy after being abducted for 47 days in Libya, according to the Italian government.
The Canadian was Frank Poccia and the two Italians are Danilo Calonego and Bruno Cacace.
In a recent interview with local Canadian news, Poccia, who is 52, said he was mentally preparing himself for death just before he was released from the captivity of his kidnappers.
“I was at peace with dying,” he said. “After the first day, I said, ‘This is my fate, I am going to die here in the desert.”
The kidnappers behaved as “gangbangers”, Poccia described. “There are not terrorists,” he adds. “They want money.”
Poccia thought his final day of captivity was his final day on earth. The kidnappers drove the three men out into the desert where they abruptly stopped the car and forced the hostages out.
“They said start walking, so we walked about 100 metres and then they told us to kneel down on the floor,” described Poccia. “At this point it’s like, OK this is where they’re going to kill us.”
However, the kidnappers eventually let the three hostages go. The Italian government has not said it paid ransom for Poccia, who was born in Italy, and the other two men’s release. Italy has paid for the release of hostages before, Canada on the other hand has a policy that forbids the government from paying ransom.
The three men had been employed by an Italian company to do maintenance work at an airport in Ghat, a town in south-western Libya, where they were kidnapped.
The kidnappers did not make any public claims for ransom. However, it took a collaborative effort from the Italian foreign ministry and Libyan officials, but no details about the collaboration was shared.
The Libyan government controls Ghat but criminal groups and armed militia roam the south-western region in Libya making it is hard to tell which areas are secure.
Poccia has safely returned to his family in Montreal, Canada.
“The family has been scarred by this,” Poccia explains. “We’re going to take it day by day.”