Father on FBI's Most Wanted List for Kidnapping Own Children, Say Authorities

Faical Chebbi has been living with his children in Tunisia since November

By Shomari Stone
|  Thursday, Jul 12, 2012  |  Updated 5:15 PM EDT
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Faical Chebbi has been living with his children in Tunisia since November, and their mother, a Fairfax County resident, is fighting to get them back.

Shomari Stone

Faical Chebbi has been living with his children in Tunisia since November, and their mother, a Fairfax County resident, is fighting to get them back.

A man with ties to Prince George's County has been added to the FBI's Most Wanted List for allegedly kidnapping his own children and bringing them to out of the country.

"My babies were literally ripped out of my arms," their mother, Edeanna Johnson-Chebbi, told NBC4's Shomari Stone in a phone interview.

Three-year-old Zainab and her six-year-old brother Eslam have been in the Northern African country of Tunisia with their father, Faical Chebbi, since November.

A federal judge in the U.S. has issued a warrant for Chebbi's arrest. Special agents are working with the State Department, and are in contact with Tunisian authorities.

"It's a federal investigation because we have the kidnapping of two children, taken out of the country," said Trent Teyema of the FBI's Washington Field Office.

The children had lived in Fairfax County with their mother, until they left on what was supposed to be a brief court-ordered visit with Chebbi. The couple is divorced.

Authorities say Chebbi picked up his children, boarded a plane at Dulles International Airport, and flew to Germany before arriving in Tunis, Tunisia.

His ex-wife says he told her that he's not bringing them back.

She flew to Tunisia and found her children at their father's parents' house. She's allowed to visit them by day, but the Tunisian government won't allow their mother to fly the children home.

Johnson-Chebbi is now going through the legal process with the Tunisian courts, trying to get her children back. "I expect everything to be in our favor," Johnson-Chebbi said.

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