Tunisia says consular staff abducted in Libya freed

2015-06-19 13:11
File: AFP

File: AFP

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Tunis - Tunisian consular staff abducted in Libya a week ago were freed on Friday, a spokesperson for the Tunisian Foreign Ministry said.

"All the Tunisian staff at the consulate in Tripoli have been released," Mokhtar al-Shawashi said.

He said they were expected to leave Libya aboard a military plane for home later on Friday.

There was no immediate comment in Libya.

The reported release came a day after Tunisian authorities said they had agreed to hand over Walid Kalib, a leading Libyan Islamist arrested on terrorism-related charges in Tunisia last month.

The gunmen who last week stormed the Tunisian consulate in Tripoli and abducted 10 employees did so reportedly in retaliation for Kalib's detention.

Three of the 10 consulate employees were freed on Monday.

Kalib is a senior member of Fajr Libya (Libya's Dawn), an Islamist militia loyal to the Libyan government based in Tripoli.

Libya has a second, rival government based in the eastern city of Tobruk. Both governments and their related militias have been locked for months in a violent power struggle.

Tunisia is one of the few countries still with a diplomatic presence in neighbouring Libya, which in recent months has experienced its worst violence since the 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The oil-rich country has since seen a proliferation of rival armed militias, including the Islamic State extremist group.

Read more on:    muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  north africa  |  abductions

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