Tunisian Diplomats Released In LibyaJune 24, 2015 in Libya
Tunisia’s foreign minister confirmed Friday that ten Tunisian diplomats, seized by Libyan gunmen linked to the Tripoli government, have been released and have flown home. The foreign minister has denied that the diplomats had been traded for a militia leader and announced that Tunisia is closing its consulate in Tripoli because of the Libyan authorities’ inability to ensure diplomats’ security.
On 12 June, the Libyan Dawn militia stormed the Tunisian consulate in Tripoli and seized the diplomats. Mokhtar Chaouachi, a spokesman for the Tunisian Foreign Ministry, disclosed at the time that it remained unclear whether the attackers were holding the hostages on site or had taken them elsewhere, adding that he did not know whether the attackers had opened fire or had made any demands in exchange for the captives. On Saturday, the interior minister for Libya’s self-declared government indicated that ten Tunisan counsellor staff kidnapped in the country’s capital city are in good condition and that contact has been made with their captors. According to Interior Minister Mohamed Shaiteer, “I am in contact with the group who abducted the Tunisian staff and hopefully the staff will be freed soon.”
Early last week, a Libyan official and Tunisian source reported that three of the ten Tunisian consular staff had been freed, adding that negotiations over the remaining hostages were continuing. Speaking to reporters, Faraj Swahili, a Libyan diplomat police official, disclosed “three diplomats have been freed…after they were kidnapped in the capital Tripoli,” adding “the other seven diplomats will be released when the Libyan detainee in Tunis, Walid Kalib, is released by Tunisian authorities.” Last month, Tunisian authorities arrested Kalib, who is a member of Libya Dawn. A Tunisian court has refused to release Kalib, who faces kidnapping charges in Tunisia.