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Middle east

Kidnapped Jordanian ambassador freed by Libyan captors

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-05-13

Jordan's ambassador to Libya, who was kidnapped in Tripoli last month, has been freed, Libyan state TV reports said Tuesday. Masked gunmen abducted al-Itan in mid-April as he was going to work in Tripoli, shooting at his car and wounding his driver.

Ambassador Fawaz al-Itan is already on his way back to his homeland following his release, Libyan state TV reported, citing Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

"The ambassador is doing well and he is now making his way back to his country," Judeh was quoted as saying.

There has been no official claim of responsibility for al-Itan's abduction. But sources in Tripoli said the kidnappers had demanded the release of Mohammed Saeed al Darsi, alias Mohammed al Noss, a Libyan jihadist who has been detained in Jordan for more than seven years over his alleged involvement in planning an attack on Amman's airport.

The Libyan government has only said it established indirect contact with the abductors, without giving further details.

Lawless

The incident was one of the latest targeting Libyan leaders and foreign diplomats in the increasingly lawless country, three years after NATO-backed rebels ended autocratic leader Muammar Gaddafi's four-decade-long rule.

The country has descended into further instability and is becoming a hotbed for terrorist activity as the government struggles to contain the heavily armed militias, tribesmen and Islamist fighters who helped topple Gaddafi in 2011 but who now refuse to disarm and cede control to the central government.

Gunmen killed Libya’s Deputy Industry Minister Hassan al-Drowi in the coastal city of Sirte in January.

Libyan premier Abdullah al-Thinni resigned last month after armed men staged an attack on his family. No one was injured in that attack.

Gunmen stormed the parliament building two weeks ago as legislators met to vote on Thinni's successor, injuring several people.

Five Egyptian diplomats were kidnapped in January, three of whom were later freed.

And an employee and a diplomat of the Tunisian embassy in Libya were also abducted in Tripoli on March 21 and April 17, respectively. According to Tunis, their captors have demanded the release of two Libyans held for "terrorism" in Tunisia.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-05-13

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