Tripoli denies Tunisians kidnapped in Libya

2012-04-17 22:25

Tripoli - Libyan officials on Tuesday denied that Tunisians were kidnapped in the border zone of the two countries as claimed by the Tunisian foreign ministry.

"We deny this information. There was no kidnapping of any Tunisians," interior ministry spokesperson Abdelmonem Ayad told AFP without elaborating.

The vice-chairman of Libya's high security committee, which falls under the ministry of interior, also dismissed the reports, explaining that some Tunisians saw their journey interrupted by a sit-in.

A group of revolutionaries - former rebels - angered by the detention of three Libyans in Tunis had "held up a group of Tunisians in a bid to have them join their cause," Tarek Zambo told AFP.

"This does not constitute a kidnapping," he said.

"Furthermore the sit-in has been broken up and the Tunisians are free to go as they please. Some completed their journey to Libya, and others to Tunisia."

Zambo accused former members of slain leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime of provoking the unrest in the hope of "damaging relations" between the two countries, after finding refuge in southern Tunisia, near Libya.

Earlier on Tuesday, Tunisia's foreign ministry said armed Libyans had abducted 80 Tunisians in the border area between the two North African nations, without specifying the location or circumstances of the kidnapping.

A Tunisian rights group then told AFP that around 100 Tunisian workers had been taken hostage near the western Libyan town of Zawiyah by Libyans who were demanding the release of four fellow nationals held in Tunisia.