Jordan ambassador still abducted, kidnappers demand prisoner release

Published April 15th, 2014 - 07:02 GMT

The kidnappers of Jordan's Ambassador in Tripoli Fawaz Aitan on Tuesday demanded the release of a Libyan who is serving a life prison sentence in Jordan, a security source said.

Essam Baitelmel, a member of the Libyan team investigating the abduction, was quoted by Reuters as saying that they had demanded the release of Mohamed Dersi and said the diplomat was not harmed and in good health.

Dersi was convicted in an attempt to bomb Queen Alia International Airport in 2004, according to reports.

Baitelmel said they still do not know the identity of the kidnappers, who had called on the ambassador's phone, which he had left in his car.

In other developments, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour on Tuesday received a telephone call from Libyan interim Prime Minister Abdullah Thinni, who expressed “his sincerest regrets over the kidnapping”.

The Libyan premier stressed that his government was in an "emergency session" and that authorities were exerting all efforts to deal with the situation and free Aitan, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Ensour underlined the need to coordinate efforts between the two countries' security apparatuses to ensure the release of the diplomat, noting that Jordan has always stood beside Libya in its quest to restore stability.

Earlier Tuesday, Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said that the government was intensively following up on kidnapping of the ambassador to Libya.

In remarks to Petra and Jordan TV, Judeh said that non-stop follow-up meetings of all concerned agencies have been held since receiving the news about the kidnap incident.

Judeh also said that he telephoned his Libyan peer, who acknowledged the difficult security situation in his country but pledged to exert all possible efforts to release Aitan.

"We also requested the Security Council to issue a statement condemning the kidnapping through our delegation in New York," the minister said.  

Said Lassoued, the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, told The Jordan Times over the phone earlier that Aitan convoy was attacked at 8am (Libya time) by a group of masked gunmen who were in two cars and opened fire at the diplomat’s car while he was heading to work.

Lassoued added that the driver, who was injured in the attack, was undergoing a surgery as he suffered wounds during the kidnapping.

“His condition is stable,” the Libyan official said.

By Khetam Malkawi

© Copyright The Jordan Times. All rights reserved.

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