Libya Dawn militia frees detained Tunisians

Tunis announced earlier this month that 172 of its nationals were being held in western Libya

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Dozens of Tunisians held in Libya by a militia forming part of an alliance ruling Tripoli have been freed, Tunisia’s foreign ministry announced Saturday.

“All the Tunisians being held in Libya have been freed. The final group was released today,” the ministry said in a statement, without giving numbers.

Tunis announced earlier in May that 172 of its nationals were being held in western Libya by a militia belonging to the Libya Dawn alliance.

Mohamed Abdelsalam al-Kuwiri, who heads a unit in the Tripoli-based government that combats illegal migration, said last week that his officers had helped secure the release of 42 Tunisians.

According to Tunisia’s foreign ministry, its nationals were detained “to check their documents,” although the Tunisian consul in Tripoli has said they were apparently taken as bargaining chips for a Libyan militia commander arrested in Tunis.

Libya has been wracked by conflict since the 2011 overthrow of veteran dictator Muammar Qaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising, with rival governments and powerful militias battling for power.

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