Dad vanishes in Lebanon

Mystery surrounds the disappearance of a 58-year-old Merrylands man while on a hunting trip with friends and family in the mountains of northern Lebanon last week.

Abdul Majid Kanj, a father of five, vanished while out shooting with friends and family members near the village of Bekaa Safrine last Saturday.

Despite an extensive four-day land and air search, no trace has been found of Mr Kanj, sparking fears that he may have been the victim of a kidnapping.

His daughter, Zahra Kanj, said her father was with a group of others on a bird-shooting day trip in the mountains when he disappeared. She said it was about 4pm when the group split up for a short time. When they returned, they discovered that Mr Kanj had gone.

''You can't believe it,'' she said. ''No one could find any trace of him.''

Mr Kanj was carrying a gun at the time and had his wallet with him but did not have his mobile phone.

Ms Kanj said the hunting party raised the alarm and searched everywhere, with hundreds of people from nearby villages joining in, but they could not find any sign of him or his belongings.

''It is just so horrible, horrible, horrible, not knowing,'' Ms Kanj said.

She said her mother, sister and husband were in Lebanon when Mr Kanj disappeared. Her eldest brother flew to Lebanon last week to join the hunt for him.

Mr Kanj had travelled to Lebanon in late September for a 10-week holiday with family and friends. It was his first trip to the country since his father died almost 20 years ago.

The Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar has reported that Lebanese authorities had used tracker dogs in the search for Mr Kanj but the trail ran out 500 metres from where he was last seen, raising fears that he might have been abducted and bundled into a car.

There have been a number of reported kidnappings of foreigners in Lebanon in recent months and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issued travel warnings for the northern region of Lebanon.

A spokesman for the department confirmed that an Australian man has been reported missing in northern Lebanon.

He said that the Lebanese authorities have been searching for him and the local police wee also investigating his disappearance.

The spokesman said the Australian Embassy in Lebanon and consular officials in Canberra were providing assistance to the family in Lebanon and Australia.

Do you know more about Mr Kanj's disappearance? Email n.obrien@fairfaxmedia.com.au.

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