Abducted Tunisian consular staff freed in Libya

Release of all employees seized in Tripoli comes just hours after Tunis court orders extradition of Libyan Dawn leader.

    Abducted Tunisian consular staff freed in Libya
    The freed employees flew to Tunis on Friday, calling their families to assure them they were 'doing well' [AFP]

    The remaining Tunisian consulate staff who were taken hostage by armed men in Libya's capital Tripoli last week have been released, according to Tunisian state media.

    The Tunisian News Agency reported on Friday that seven staff members were released late on Thursday night. Three others had been released earlier.

    Tunisia fears violence spillover from Libya

    Prior to flying home to Tunis on Friday, the freed employees reportedly called their families upon their release to assure them they were "doing well".

    The release of the prisoners came just hours after the Tunis Court of Appeal decided to extradite a Libyan man, Walid Kalib, back to Libya.

    Kalib is a member of the pro-Tripoli Libya Dawn coalition, which includes conservative Misratan businessmen, the Muslim Brotherhood, Berbers and other armed groups such as Ansar al-Sharia.

    Al-Tayeb al-Bakoush, Tunisian foreign minister, told Al Jazeera that armed men handed the 10 staff to authorities at the Ras Ajdir crossing on the Libyan border, and that Tunisian authorities handed back Kalib.  

    Bakoush said the release of Kalib was a "judicial issue" that was not linked to the release of the consular staff.

    He also said that Tunisia would close its consulate in Tripoli.

    Armed men kidnapped the 10 staff members at the Tunisian consulate in Tripoli on June 12.

    At the time, Tunisia's foreign ministry called the attack attack "a vile aggression" against its sovereignty and a "flagrant violation of international laws and diplomatic norms".

    Libya Dawn comprises Misratan businessmen, the Muslim Brotherhood, Berbers and armed groups such as Ansar al-Sharia [AFP]

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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