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Four UN staffers 'roughed up' at Libya airport: boss

The damaged facade of the Libyan government's head offices is pictured after it was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in Tripoli June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Hani Amara

TRIPOLI: Four U.N. staffers have been roughed up by the security detail at Tripoli airport after being briefly detained for alleged arms smuggling, the U.N. chief of mission in Libya said Thursday.

The unidentified foreigners were "held for questioning by the security brigade ... for an hour and a half and roughed up" Wednesday night, Tarek Mitri told a press conference in the capital.

Mitri denounced the "unacceptable" treatment of the men, who he said had diplomatic immunity.

The men were carrying arms licensed by the Interior Ministry and were returning from the eastern town of Al-Baida, where they had traveled to prepare a visit by Mitri.

Separately, Mitri complained that a senior U.N. official had been briefly detained, and his papers confiscated, after he recently went to attend a court hearing.

He said the incident occurred at Tripoli's Al-Hadhba complex, where officials from the regime of slain dictator Moammar Gadhafi are being held and tried.

Wednesday night's incident came hours after a senior Swiss staffer of the Red Cross was gunned down in the city of Sirte, Gadhafi's hometown on the central coast.

Libya has descended into almost total lawlessness since the 2011 uprising that ousted Gadhafi. The government has almost no power over the many armed brigades that fought to overthrow the dictator and have since carved out their own spheres of influence.

The North African nation is the scene of frequent killings, which have not spared foreign officials, diplomats and aid workers.

 

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Summary

Four U.N. staffers have been roughed up by the security detail at Tripoli airport after being briefly detained for alleged arms smuggling, the U.N. chief of mission in Libya said Thursday.

The men were carrying arms licensed by the Interior Ministry and were returning from the eastern town of Al-Baida, where they had traveled to prepare a visit by Mitri.

Separately, Mitri complained that a senior U.N. official had been briefly detained, and his papers confiscated, after he recently went to attend a court hearing.


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