BEIRUT: Body parts discovered in a Beirut neighborhood on Saturday belonged to an Ethiopian woman, according to a preliminary investigation.
The body parts were found in a black plastic bag in front of a bank in Monla.
An official security source said a probe was ongoing to find the rest of the body, which may have been packed in the same way and left in other places.
“We have not seen a crime as horrific as this one for a long time,” the source told Arab News. “The motives for murders are many.”
The security source suggested that, based on past experiences of investigations into such crimes, the perpetrator was also a foreigner.
He probably did not own a car and could be living in a “crowded or poor neighborhood” where he could not get rid of the body except in this way so as not to attract attention, the source added.
“This criminal may be unstable and have high homicidal tendencies, and he may have addictions or have other motives. The rate of crimes against foreign workers is increasing in Lebanon.”
With Lebanon entering the worst economic period in its history, there are frequent security reports of robbery, fraud, kidnapping for ransom, murder, and the arrest of drug dealers.
The homicide rate in Lebanon rose during the first five months of 2020 to 74.4 percent, compared to the same period in 2019, according to figures from the General Directorate of the Internal Security Forces (ISF).
Lebanon’s robbery rate increased by 41.3 percent. The ISF said the thefts, which included breaking into homes, shops, and pharmacies, reached an average of 173 incidents per month, compared to 650 such incidents during the whole of 2019.
While lockdowns and curfews contributed to reducing the rate of pickpocketing, the source said, the pandemic contributed to an increase in the number of crimes committed at homes, including “domestic violence, murder, and cyberbullying.”
The source also warned that what increased in Lebanon was the rate of thefts due to the economic situation. “Hungry people do not kill, but they steal to live.”
The Committee for Lebanese Women’s Rights expressed its concern about the increase in violence against women, especially after the imposition of home quarantine.
According to the committee, a five-year-old Syrian girl died due to being severely beaten, a man in a town in the Bekaa stabbed his wife in front of her three children, two young women tried to jump off the balcony to escape the violence and brutality of their father, and Lebanese model Zeina Kanjo was strangled by her husband.
Hotlines set up by associations defending women in Lebanon are receiving hundreds of calls about domestic violence. The percentage of reports of domestic violence increased to 96.52 after the pandemic. In the first month of 2021, the security services received 116 reports of domestic violence on the 1745 hotline.
Researcher Mohammad Chamseddine, from the independent studies and statistics company Information International, warned that, amid the collapse of economic indicators, 2021 would see more crimes, and “people might resort to owning weapons under the pretext of self-defense.”
Lebanon’s economic situation, combined with the coronavirus pandemic, has led to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.
Its unemployment rate has been estimated at about 40 percent by the World Bank. Those left with jobs have seen the value of their salary plummet because of the dollar exchange rate, and almost 60 percent of the country is living on or below the poverty line.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Western Asia the poverty rate would rise to 55 percent in 2020, after being 28 percent in 2019. The study also revealed that extreme poverty registered a threefold increase from 8 to 23 percent during the same period.
Banks have seized Lebanese deposits, with some people resorting to keeping their cash in homes and companies. Economists estimate this sum to be around $10 billion, most of which is in dollars and the rest in Lebanese pounds. Former convicts have seized on this opportunity to commit theft and fraud.