Talks to free Libya journalists break down

TRIPOLI Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:10pm IST

Related Topics

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Talks to release two Libyan journalists kidnapped in a former stronghold of ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi while covering the country's elections have broken down, the official mediating in the stand-off said on Thursday.

Since last year's uprising against Gaddafi, the interim government has struggled to control a myriad armed groups who refuse to lay down their weapons and often take the law into their own hands and detain people.

Reporter-cameraman Abdelqadir Fassouk and cameraman Yusuf Badi, who work for the Misrata-based Tobacts TV station, disappeared on Saturday near Bani Walid - one of the last Gaddafi strongholds to fall during the eight-month conflict.

"The Bani Walid group is steadfast in not releasing the two journalists," said Idris Al-Mismari, head of the state-funded Press Promotion and Support Board, who had been negotiating with the captors.

"We are calling on international bodies to intervene to seek the release of these two innocent journalists," Mismari told Reuters by telephone from Bani Walid.

The journalists had been covering Libya's historic election for a 200-seat national assembly in the western town of Mizdah and were on their way back to Misrata when contact with them was lost.

The collapse of talks on Thursday came hours before a deadline given by a militia in Misrata for their release was due to be reached. The militia had threatened to attack Bani Walid and free the men by force.

Attempts to contact the Misrata militia on Thursday went unanswered. Fighters there said on Wednesday the deadline for the release of the journalists had been set for 1.00 p.m. local time (1100 GMT) on Thursday.

Misrata was one of the first cities to join the revolt against Gaddafi and has a history of rivalry with Bani Walid. Local media said the captors of the journalists demanded the release of detainees in Misrata in return for freeing them.

(Reporting by Ali Shuaib; Writing by Mark John; Editing by Pravin Char)

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ukraine Crisis

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Chronology - Worst Ebola outbreak on record tests global response.  Full Article 

Fear Down Under

Fear Down Under

Australia fears Islamist radicals joining forces with biker gangs.  Full Article 

Mexico Protests

Mexico Protests

Molotov cocktails, clashes as Mexico City braces for massacre protests.  Full Article 

Nuclear Probe

Nuclear Probe

Iran rejects West's pressure on nuclear probe, offers site access.  Full Article 

Egypt Crackdown

Egypt Crackdown

Egypt arrests Brotherhood leader as crackdown intensifies.  Full Article 

Third Term

Third Term

Sri Lanka president seeks third term, critics want powers curbed.  Full Article 

Considering Pardon

Considering Pardon

Egypt's Sisi says pardon for Al Jazeera journalists "being discussed".  Full Article 

Difficult Diplomacy

Difficult Diplomacy

Iran still stalling as nuclear deal deadline looms - watchdog.  Full Article 

Detention Order

Detention Order

Swedish appeal court upholds Assange detention order.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage