Gaddafi-era colonel disappears from hospital in Paris

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 August, 2012, 4:04am


A retired air force colonel who served under the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has disappeared from a military hospital in Paris. Relatives fear he may have been abducted or worse, a lawyer for the family said yesterday.

Police are searching for Abdusalam Aboudajaja, 68, who vanished from the Val-de-Grace hospital on August 6 wearing his hospital pyjamas, lawyer Francois Gibault said.

"It's very odd," Gibault said. "We fear the worst. He could be lost, he could have been taken, or killed, we have no information. He doesn't speak French, he doesn't have any money and he doesn't have a credit card."

Since the toppling of Gaddafi, Libya's government has struggled to control armed groups inside the country who have often taken the law into their own hands, and families of former Gaddafi loyalists have expressed concern about the safety of their relatives outside of Libya as well.

Aboudajaja was in France with his wife and son undergoing medical treatment for an undisclosed ailment on a trip authorised by Libya's new government.

But while in France he suffered brain damage and was transferred in July to the military hospital, Gibault said.

Aboudajaja's son told the Liberation daily that his father had served for 30 years in the air force of Gaddafi.

Aboudajaja, who retired in 1998, transported military cargo such as "suitcases of banknotes and atomic things, radioactive material for the nuclear industry" to countries such as Iran, Chad, Rwanda, Nicaragua, Lebanon and Syria, his son told the newspaper.

A relative of Aboudajaja said the hospital had at first said it had no trace of him leaving the premises but had later shown him CCTV footage of him walking out alone dressed in his pyjama top and beige trousers. Val-de-Grace first told his family that the patient was in a radiology session when they discovered his room empty on August 6, Gibault said.