Fiel picture: Raymond Yee/Flickr

Benghazi  – Libyan police have arrested the 17-year-old neighbour of a kidnapped nine-year-old boy found dead in a freezer in Libya’s eastern Benghazi city neighbourhood of Al Aslam, the Libya Herald reports.

According to Libyan security sources, Abdul Raouf Ojali was kidnapped a week ago near his home and a ransom of LD2 million (about R20 million) was demanded from his parents.

However, the boy’s father, Ali Ojali, the newly appointed head of the Benghazi Rebuilding Committee, said he could not afford it.

According to a medical report, the boy died on Friday and his body was subsequently placed in the freezer after he apparently died of starvation.

The attorney-general’s office in Benghazi has announced that it is taking over the case.

Kidnappings continue to plague the fractured and conflict-ridden North African country and have been on the rise over the past three years.

Current statistics are not available, but in 2015 the Libyan Red Crescent Society reported that more than 600 people had gone missing between February 2014 and April 2015.

No-one is immune - the victims range from politicians to activists to businessmen to doctors to children.