Tunisian workers kidnapped in Libyan capital

A policeman stands guard outside the Tunisian consulate in Tripoli on June 13, 2015. (AFP)

Eight Tunisian citizens working in Libya's capital Tripoli have been kidnapped, according to Tunisian state radio, citing a local official, on Sunday.

Libya is in turmoil, with two rival governments and their armed factions battling for control. Armed groups have kidnapped foreign nationals and diplomats in the past year to try to pressure their governments to release jailed Libyan militants.

"Eight young Tunisians were kidnapped... close to Tripoli," local lawmaker Hussein Yahyaoui told state Tataouin Radio. Tunisian officials did not immediately confirm the abduction.

No group has claimed responsibility for kidnapping the consular staff, but Tripoli's self-declared government said it hoped they would be freed soon after making contact with the captors and hearing the hostages were in good condition.

Tunisian authorities last month arrested Walid Kalib, a member of Libya Dawn, the armed group that took over Tripoli last summer. On Thursday, a Tunisian court refused to free Kalib, who faces kidnapping charges in Tunisia.

Libya Dawn, a loose alliance of former rebel brigades and Islamist-leaning groups, seized power in Tripoli, expelling the existing government, which now operates from the east of the country, and setting up its own. It also reinstated a previous parliament.
 

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Last Update: 20:16 KSA 23:16 - GMT 20:16
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