2nd Ottawan dies in Libya

A former west-Ottawa resident is one of at least 70 people found killed in Tripoli, Libya.

Abdel Hamid Darrat, 46, was a “successful businessman” who has shuttled between Tripoli and Ottawa for the last 27 years.

“He was just helping people,” Ahmed Hussein said about his friend of more than 20 years.

“The whole community loved him.”

The electrical engineer, a Canadian citizen, once attended the University of Ottawa and ran a Tripoli-based telecommunications company, providing IP addresses for Internet users.

Libyan leader — and fugitive — Moammar Gadhafi ordered a shutdown of Internet service months ago.

And that meant trouble for Darrat, who went missing last March, one month after the uprising began.

“He was taken by Gadhafi’s people,” said Hussein. “The government came and picked him up from home.”

Hussein received word of his friend’s death Thursday and hasn’t been able to reach Darrat’s widow or children.

“I’m trying to call them,” he said, adding he hopes to connect in the next few days.

The Darrats had a traditional Arabic home.

“She’s a housewife. The man is a single provider,” he said.

Darrat is the second Canadian to die in Libya this week, according to the Canadian Libyan Council.

Nader Ben Raween, 24, was killed Tuesday after leaving his IT job in Ottawa last March and joining Libyan rebels to fight against Gadhafi’s loyalists.

Darrat didn’t join the rebels, Hussein said.

A Facebook posting by the CLC says both men “will be greatly missed but their ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs is “aware of reports of the death of a second Canadian citizen in Libya,” but couldn’t confirm or deny it was Darrat.

The Darrat family lived in the nation’s capital for 14 years: from 1984 to 1994, and again from 2004 to 2008.

“He brought them (his kids) back to learn English,” said Hussein.

They had a townhouse in Nepean a short walk to Bayshore Public School, which the kids attended.

“We used to play soccer together in (the) Nepean Sportsplex,” Hussein said, adding they would meet up every Friday from 6 to 7 p.m.

“He was always extending a hand. He was a true friend. He will be missed.”

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/08/26/2nd-canadian-dies-in-libya

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