Some Egyptian diplomats abducted in Libya reportedly released

Women talk with policemen on January 25, 2014 in front of the Egyptian embassy, where Egyptian diplomats were seized earlier by kidnappers in Tripoli, Libya. At least 2 of the diplomats have been released.

Story highlights

  • At least two of five Egyptian diplomats kidnapped in Libya have reportedly been released
  • Libyan state news: Senior Libyan foreign ministry official met with freed diplomats
  • The motive behind the abductions is unknown

At least two of the five Egyptian diplomats kidnapped in Libya on Friday have been released, according to Egyptian and Libyan state news agencies.

Egypt's agency, MENA, is quoting the Libyan Defense Minister Adel El-Faadey as saying that the remaining two will be released Monday.

News from Libyan news agency LANA on Sunday said that five diplomats and an embassy worker were abducted. CNN is working to confirm the news about the embassy worker. LANA quotes an official source Sunday saying that two diplomats and the embassy staffer were released and arrived at their residence in Tripoli in good health. LANA also reported that a senior Libyan foreign ministry official met with the freed diplomats at their residence to check that they were OK.

Gunmen carried out the kidnappings from the Egyptian Embassy in Tripoli. The embassy was evacuated Saturday.

Libya's Justice Minister Salah al-Maghani stridently condemned the abductions and called for their freedom.

A spokesman for the Libyan Foreign Ministry, Said Al-Aswad, earlier told the Egyptian MENA news agency that the motive behind the kidnapping was unknown and that Libyan authorities were investigating.

On Saturday, the Libyan ambassador to Egypt said that the kidnappings could be in retaliation for the Friday arrest of Shaaban Hadiya in Alexandria, Egypt.

Hadiya is also known as Abu Obedia El-Zawy and he heads the state-funded militia group Libyan Revolutionary Operations Room, or LROR.

According to news sources, El-Zawy's group was responsible for the kidnapping of Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan last October.

The Libyan General National Congress, which is drafting a new Libyan constitution, has demanded that Egyptian authorities release El-Zawy immediately.

Earlier this week, a South Korean trade official was rescued after being taken from his car in Tripoli last Sunday. His kidnappers were detained, authorities said.

Libya's government and fragile state security forces are struggling to impose law and order in a country awash with weapons left over from the 2011 war that ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi.