Libyan militiaman released in Egypt after diplomats freed
The Egyptian embassy in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. [Sabri]
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The release of a Libyan militia commander in Egypt was announced on Monday, after Egyptian diplomats kidnapped in Tripoli were freed a day earlier.
Shaban Hadia, also known as Abou Abeida, was released despite there being no “exchange deal” for the diplomats to be freed, Libyan and Egyptian government officials said, according to Reuters news agency.
On Sunday, Libya’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abdul Razak al-Grady announced that the five Egyptian diplomats kidnapped last week in response to Hadia’s detention had been freed.
Egypt’s Interior Ministry issued a statement late on Sunday saying authorities were examining Hadia’s presence in Egypt as his residency permit had expired.
“It is a completely separate issue from the release of the Egyptian nationals,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty told Reuters.
“They are all ok, hopefully they will come back today on a flight from Tripoli,” Abdelatty said.
Hadia is expected to travel to Libya later on Monday, the Alexandria-based security sources told Reuters.
Hadia commands the Operations Room of Libya’s Revolutionaries, a powerful militia, which denied it was involved in the Egyptian kidnappings.
The Libyan rebel group grabbed five diplomatic staff from their homes in the Libyan capital within 24 hours, including the cultural attaché, on Friday.
Kidnappers on Saturday called Al Arabiya News Channel, demanding Hadiaa’s release in 24 hours and put one of the Egyptian diplomats on the line to plead with their government to meet the demands.