BEIRUT

Middle East

Libya militiaman released in Egypt after diplomats freed: sources

Soldiers from the Libyan army man a checkpoint in the capital Tripoli on January 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD TURKIA

CAIRO: A Libyan militia commander was released in Egypt after Egyptian diplomats kidnapped in Tripoli were freed, Egyptian security sources said on Monday.

Libyan and Egyptian government officials said there had been no deal to free Shaban Hadia, also known as Abou Abeida, in exchange for the diplomats.

Libya's Deputy Foreign Minister Abdul Razak Al-Grady announced on Sunday that the five Egyptian diplomats kidnapped last week in response to Hadia's detention had been freed.

Their abduction in the Libyan capital illustrated the fragility of government control over former rebels and militias who two years ago helped topple Moammar Gadhafi.

Egypt's Interior Ministry issued a statement late on Sunday saying authorities were examining Hadia's presence in Egypt as his residency permit had expired.

"It is a completely separate issue from the release of the Egyptian nationals," Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty told Reuters.

"They are all ok, hopefully they will come back today on a flight from Tripoli," Abdelatty said.

Hadia is expected to travel to Libya later on Monday, the Alexandria-based security sources said.

 

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