Libya: Kidnapped Egyptian diplomats freed
Soldiers from the Libyan army man a checkpoint in the capital Tripoli. Egypt's ambassador and his staff have left Libya for security reasons after the kidnapping of five of their colleagues. [AFP]
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Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Abdul Razak al-Grady said Sunday night that all five Egyptian diplomats kidnapped in Tripoli in retaliation for Egypt’s arrest of a Libyan militia commander have been freed.
A gunman captured four diplomatic staff from their homes on Saturday. The detainees included the cultural attaché. Then he kidnapped another diplomat on Friday. This move forced Cairo to evacuate its embassy and its Benghazi consulate.
“All them have been freed,” Grady told Reuters.
There were no details of the method in which they were released but it was stated that three were already home, and the other two were on their way back to Tripoli.
On Saturday, kidnapper called the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV, demanding Hadia’s release in 24 hours. The even put an Egyptian diplomat on the phone to beg that their demands be met.
This abduction pointed to the frailty of the governments control over former rebels. These same militias helped out two years ago during the toppling of Moammar Gaddafi.
Commanders from the Operations Room denied any involvement in the diplomat abductions.
The responsible party was also accused of abducting Libya’s Prime Minister Ali Zeidan in Tripoli in October last year. It initially claimed it had arrested the premier, but later denied that after he was released.
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