Dozens of Tunisians Illegally Detained in Sabratha Released

Editing by Jamahiriya News Agency

The Tunisian Foreign Ministry announced that dozens of Tunisians kidnapped in Libya have been released.  No further details were given, although security sources said that 55 Tunisians had arrived home safely from Libya.

An armed group from the Libyan coastal city of Sabratha abducted as many as 300 Tunisians workers Monday night. Militants allied with the Tripoli-based General National Congress claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, which was an act of revenge and leverage against the Tunisian government following  the arrest of Houcine Dhaouadi, deputy municipal leader in Sabratha, upon his arrival at the Carthage airport in Tunisia on Saturday on charges of aiding terrorism by facilitating the travel of Tunisian foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria.

The Sabratha Municipal Council condemned the arrest and said Dhaouadi was traveling to Tunisia on a UN mission. On Tuesday, just hours after the Tunisians were detained, officials from the Tripoli parliament rejected a United Nations peace proposal for a joint unity government.

Tunisian officials did not say whether Dhaouadi had been released.

Earlier this year, an armed group stormed the Tunisian consulate in Tripoli and kidnapped 10 staff before finally releasing them. Tunisia closed the consulate after the incident.

Relations between the two North African neighbors have become increasingly tense, with Tunisia’s government worried about spillover from the chaos that continues to plague Libya.