Women talk with policemen on January 25, 2014 in front of the Egyptian embassy, where Egypt's cultural attache and three other embassy staff were seized by kidnappers in Tripoli, Libya
Women talk with policemen on January 25, 2014 in front of the Egyptian embassy, where Egypt's cultural attache and three other embassy staff were seized by kidnappers in Tripoli, Libya © Mahmud Turkia - AFP/File
Women talk with policemen on January 25, 2014 in front of the Egyptian embassy, where Egypt's cultural attache and three other embassy staff were seized by kidnappers in Tripoli, Libya
AFP
Last updated: January 27, 2014

Libya says freed Egypt diplomats to return home soon

Libya's prime minister said Monday five Egyptian diplomats kidnapped in Tripoli and freed as part of an apparent prisoner swap will return to their homeland "in a few hours".

Kidnappers snatched four Egyptian diplomats in Tripoli on Saturday, the day after another member of the embassy in the city was taken.

The abductions came after a prominent commander in Libya's 2011 rebellion that ousted dictator Moamer Kadhafi was arrested in the Egyptian city of Alexandria.

All five were freed late on Sunday, Libya's foreign ministry said.

On Monday, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said they would return home soon.

"The freed Egyptian diplomats will travel to Egypt in a few hours," Zeidan told a news conference.

The kidnappings came shortly after the arrest in Alexandria of Shaaban Hadeia, leader of the 2011 uprising.

Hadeia, head of the Operations Centre of Libya's Thuwar, a group of ex-rebels that fought Kadhafi, announced his release himself on television.

A security source in Tripoli told AFP the kidnappers freed the diplomats as part of a deal between Libya and Egypt.

Zeidan said the kidnapping had "tarnished the image of Libya, now considered a country that does not respect international laws".

But he added the incident "will not affect relations" between the countries, saying the Egyptian mission's staff, who left Libya after the kidnappings, would return to Tripoli soon.

Libya's authorities have struggled to stamp their authority on the mostly desert nation since the 2011 revolt, with some rebel groups that helped overthrow Kadhafi forming powerful armed militias.

Some of these groups have carved out their own fiefdoms, each with its own ideology and regional allegiances.

Zeidan was himself briefly kidnapped by a militia last year.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Stay Connected
twitter icon Twitter 13,558 linkedin icon LinkedIn 463
facebook icon Facebook 87,173 google+ icon Google+ 272