Tunisian diplomat, embassy staffer released in Libya

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A Tunisian diplomat and an embassy staffer, who were kidnapped in Libya earlier this year, have been released by their abductors.

Diplomat Aroussi Kontassi and staffer Mohamed bin Sheikh returned to Tunisia on a military plane early Monday and were welcomed by President Moncef Marzouki, Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa and Head of the Constituent Assembly Mustapha bin Jaafar.

Kontassi told journalist that “the conditions of our detention were very bad.”

Kontassi was abducted in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on April 17, one month after Sheikh had been taken hostage in the city. The kidnapping of Kontassi also came days after Jordanian Ambassador to Libya Fawaz Aitan was kidnapped when his vehicle came under attack by gunmen in two civilian cars in central Tripoli. Aitan is still in captivity.

Their abductions came during a period of attacks on diplomats in Libya.

Earlier this year, five Egyptian diplomats were also seized in Tripoli in an apparent retaliation for Egypt’s arrest of a Libyan militia chief. They were freed hours later and Egypt released the militia commander.

Libya has been the scene of violence since the overthrow of its former dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The Libyan government says the militants, who fought against Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, use the kidnappings to blackmail other countries into releasing Libyan prisoners.

 

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