Lebanese military patrols have been stepped up in the wake of last week's killings and kidnappings in northern Lebanon.
Lebanese military patrols have been stepped up in the wake of last week's killings and kidnappings in northern Lebanon. This latest outbreak of violence in a year-long feud between right-wing Falangists and ex-President Suleiman Franjieh's Marada Brigades, started on Monday (8 October) when militiamen of the Falangist Party kidnapped more than 100 Marada supporters.
SYNOPSIS: The kidnappings happened here in Byblos, a coastal town some 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Beirut. On Thursday (11 October) President Elias Sarkis told Syrian peace-keeping troops and the Lebanese army to rescue the hostages, but there were no signs of military action until Friday (12 October) when military patrols were enforced and roadblocks set up on the coastal road.
The soldiers found nothing -- but then came an appeal to the feuding Christian militias from Pope, John Paul II, and by Friday night, the Marada had released 190 hostages, and the Falangists followed suit, but kept about 30 hostages back.
State-run Beirut radio said after the exchange more talks were going on to secure the release of those hostages held back by the Falangists. It was not clear if the Marada had freed all of their hostages or were still keeping some for bargaining purposes.
The soldiers are still checking identity papers and have kept up the roadblocks. The fear in northern Lebanon is that the potentially explosive Falangist-Marada conflict in snot yet resolved. The dispute involving one of Lebanon's most powerful families the Franjieh's -- exploded into violence in June last year when ex-President Franjieh's son Tony, his wife and small daughter and about 30 other people were massacred in a Falangist raid.
The feud dates back to President Franjieh's decision to break away from other right-wing organisations. He disagreed with their hostility towards Syria, which maintains about 30 thousand peace-keeping troops in Lebanon. Many rightists regard them as an army of occupation.