A Kuwaiti man kidnapped by a Lebanese gang on Saturday was released on Monday, Kuwait’s state news agency KUNA reported. The Kuwaiti national, Issam Al-Houti, was originally reported as being kidnapped alongside his wife, but was later confirmed to have been abducted alone.
Houti spent three days in captivity after being abducted in the Bekaa Valley in east Lebanon on Saturday. KUNA reports the 52 year old was taken from his car at gunpoint. The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai reported Houti was abducted because he was believed to be involved with the Syrian revolution. “The kidnappers accused me of funding the Syrian revolution,” Houti was quoted as saying. He was reportedly also beaten.
As tensions in Lebanon have mounted and violence spilling over from Syria has increased, several Gulf States have issued travel warnings for Lebanon and advised their citizens to leave the former Syrian-annexed nation.
The Bekaa Valley is a region notorious for its marijuana and opium plantations, as well as being an important agricultural region. A case report filed in 2006 by the Cambridge University Land Society estimates that about 12 percent of Lebanon’s GDP comes from the region’s agricultural produce. However, much of the Bekaa Valley falls under tribal law and Government control is limited.