Tunisian diplomats held by Libyan gunmen released; Tunisia closes embassy

Tunisian diplomats held by Libyan gunmen released; Tunisia closes embassy
Libyan militias . (Image: AP, Abdel Magid al Fergany via Guardian)

[Ed. – It was a comparatively short time ago when the capture of a diplomatic team would have been much bigger news, anywhere in the world.  It’s a measure of how different things have become that news of this incident has made hardly a ripple in Western media.]

A group of 10 Tunisia’s diplomats, kidnapped by gunmen in Libya, was released on Friday, the foreign ministry in Tunis said. Tunisia also decided to close its consulate in Tripoli (pictured above).

“After this serious incident, we have decided to close the consulate in Tripoli,” Foreign Minister Taieb Baccouche told journalists.

Trading captives?

Walid Klib, a Libyan militia leader who had been in Tunisian custody, was also sent to Libya.

“The page of the Tunisian consulate will be turned and they will return to their families” when the Klib returns to his family, Jamal Zubia, spokesman for the Libyan militia, based in Tripoli, wrote on Facebook.

Tunisian officials, however, denied that there had been any kind of prisoner exchange with the Libyan Dawn militia and argued that Klib’s extradition was done according to a 1961 agreement between the two neighboring countries.

“The Foreign Ministry had no link to this affair which relates to the Justice [Ministry],” Baccouche told Tunisian radio.

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