Tunisian diplomat kidnapped in Libya

2014-04-17 17:36

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Tripoli - A Tunisian diplomat was kidnapped in Tripoli on Thursday in still unknown circumstances, a Libyan security source told AFP, just two days after armed men seized Jordan's ambassador.

A Tunisian source confirmed the abduction - the latest in a string of incidents targeting foreign diplomats and Libyan politicians - while Tunis's ambassador, Ridha Boukadi, refused to comment.

Libyan foreign ministry spokesperson Said Lessoued said he could not confirm nor deny the reported abduction.

If confirmed, the diplomat would be the second staffer from the Tunisian embassy abducted in the Libyan capital since 21 March when a man employed by the mission was seized. His fate is still unknown.

Diplomats in Tripoli say militias that fought to topple the Muammar Gaddafi regime in the 2011 uprising often carry out kidnappings in order to blackmail other countries into releasing Libyans held abroad.

On Tuesday masked gunmen kidnapped Jordan's ambassador, Fawaz Aitan, as he rode to work in Tripoli, shooting at his car and wounding his driver.

Libya has been gripped by increasing lawlessness since Nato-backed rebels ended the four-year reign of the autocratic Gaddafi, who was killed in the 2011 uprising.

Over the past three years the North African country has seen near daily attacks targeting security forces, a rebellion that blockaded vital oil terminals for nine months and a growing crisis stemming from the interim parliament's decision to extend its mandate.

Libya is awash with weapons from the 2011 conflict, and authorities have struggled to establish security by integrating anti-Gaddafi militias into the regular army or police force

Diplomatic staff and missions have borne the brunt of the unrest.

In January, gunmen seized five Egyptian diplomats and held them for several hours.

Two assailants were killed in October when protesters attacked Russia's embassy in Tripoli, and a car bomb attack on the French embassy wounded two guards a year ago.

On 11 September 2012, an attack on the US consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, the cradle of the 2011 revolt, killed US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American citizens.

Read more on:    libya  |  north africa
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