TRIPOLI, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) — Unidentified men have hid a historic statue of Omar Al-Mukhtar, a historic figure, in the Libyan capital Tripoli, an official in the Libyan Antiquities Authority announced on Sunday.
Omar Al-Mukhtar is a hero and the leader of the Libyan resistance against the Italian regime for 20 years in the 1920’s and 30’s. The statue was placed in front of the headquarters of the municipal council of Al-Maya region on the coastal road west of Tripoli.
“The archaeological statue disappeared in mysterious circumstances similar to the circumstances in which another archaeological statue, known the gazelle statue, one of the most important historical monuments located in downtown Tripoli, disappeared.” said the official, who requested anonymity.
The statue, known in Tripoli as gazelle statue, it is a small fountain with a statue of nude woman holding a deer. The fountain was designed by the Italian artist Angelo Vanity in early 1930s during the Italian occupation of Libya.
“The statue was uprooted from its place by an unknown group in early hours of Tuesday, most likely because of the nudity features of the statue, which are rejected for religious reasons.” Witnesses told Xinhua.
Several similar threats were issued earlier. In October, the statue was targeted by an RPG missile, causing damage. In 2012, Islamist militants threatened to remove it.
On the other hand, an explosion on last Monday destroyed a historic shrine in the Libyan capital. The shrine, located next to a mosque, is over 700 years old and is officially registered within the Libyan monuments.
Libya is a country rich in cultural and human heritage of Greek and Roman civilizations. However, the country has been unstable since the overthrow of former Muammar Gaddafi regime in 2011.
The capital and several other Libyan cities witnessed similar attacks targeting religious monuments and shrines by Islamist groups described by the Libyan authorities as extremists.