Tunisia will not ‘bow’ to kidnappers’ demands

Tunisia’s Foreign Minister Mongi Hamdi said his country was considering reducing its diplomatic mission in Libya

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Tunisian Foreign Minister Monji Hamdi said Friday his country will not “bow to the demands” of Libyan militias who kidnapped Tunisia’s ambassador in Tripoli demanding the release of their comrades detained by Tunisian authorities.

In an interview with Al Arabiya News, Hamdi confirmed that several members of the militia group were detained in Tunisia, without giving further detailed.

Hamdi earlier told Reuters that Tunisia was considering reducing its diplomatic mission in Libya, where kidnappings have become commonplace, with foreign officials often the targets.

The adviser at the Tunisian embassy was taken on Thursday, becoming the second Tunisian diplomat to be kidnapped in the Libyan capital within a month.

“We have been able to learn the identity of the kidnappers,” Hamdi told reporters on Friday. “They belong to the family of a group of terrorists detained in Tunisia because of their involvement in attacks (three years ago) against security forces in (Tunisia's) Rouhia city.”

Libya’s weak interim government has been unable to disarm former rebels and Islamist militants who fought to depose ex-leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and who have formed increasingly powerful and violent militias.

On Tuesday, gunmen kidnapped Jordan’s ambassador to Libya and demanded an Islamist militant be released from a Jordanian jail in exchange for the diplomat’s freedom.

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