Libyan jihadist group parades sobbing hostage

The hostage, abducted from the Tunisian embassy, pleaded for his release in a five-minute video

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A hostage kidnapped from the Tunisian embassy in Libya was seen sobbing in a video released on Monday by a jihadist group claiming his capture.

The hostage, Mohammad ben Sheikh, is seen calling on Tunisia’s president to help rescue him from his plight as he cries the five minute video posted to social networking sites. Sheikh is being held by a largely unknown group calling themselves Shabab al-Tawhid, according to Agence France-Presse.

“Mr. President, why do you want to deprive me of life?.. There are no negotiations, they will not release me,” he says.

“Mr. President, negotiate with them. I want to return to Tunisia. They can kill me at any time.”

At the end of the video, the captors, in a message to the Tunisian government, claim: “As you imprison ours, we imprison yours. As you kill ours, we kill yours.”

Authorities in Tunis are demanding the release of Libyans sentenced for their role in a 2011 “terrorist operation” in which two police officers died.

Mohammad ben Sheikh is one of two officials recently kidnapped from the Tunisian embassy by assailants. The other is diplomat al-Aroussi Kontassi.

Their abductions come during a string of attacks targeting diplomats in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Jordan’s ambassador to Libya has also been kidnapped and Portugal’s embassy was attacked by gunmen.

Diplomats in the Libyan capital say militias which fought to topple the Muammar Qaddafi regime in the 2011 uprising often carry out kidnappings in order to blackmail other countries into releasing Libyans held abroad.

The North African country has been awash with weapons since the end of the uprising that killed Qaddafi and has been gripped by increasing lawlessness.

(With AFP)

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