World Bulletin/News Desk
Dozens of Egyptian lorry drivers who were kidnapped in Libya on Friday have been released, Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Sunday.
"The contacts between Egyptian and Libyan sides led to the release of the Egyptian drivers," Badr Abdel-Ati told Anadolu Agency.
"The Egyptian contacts with the Libyan side involved security agencies and Libyan tribal leaders," he added.
On Friday, militiamen kidnapped 70 Egyptian lorry drivers in Ajdabiya, eastern Libya, and asked the Egyptian government to free 13 Libyan prisoners jailed in Egypt in exchange for their release.
The drivers’ families received phone calls from the kidnappers saying they are being held by Libyan armed groups who ask for the release of 13 Libyan prisoners, some of whom are serving jail terms of up to 25 years.
The drivers, most of them from the Nile Delta city of Kafr al-Zayat, were en route to Egypt after delivering goods across the border into Libya when they were kidnapped.
Abdel-Ati said that efforts on the official and unofficial levels were crowned with the release of the 70 drivers.
"The official contacts with Libyan officials and agencies, and the popular ones through contacting chieftains led to convince the kidnappers to release the drivers," he said, giving no further details about whether contacts with the kidnappers entailed any response to their demands.
He also did not specify whether the drivers were handed over to the Egyptian or Libyan authorities.
Libyans have been struggling to restore order to their country since the death two years ago of longstanding strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
Earlier this month, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was briefly abducted by members of an armed militia believed to belong to the Operations Room of Libya's Revolutionaries. However, the group denied any involvement in the abduction.
Relations between Egypt and Libya have been tense over attacks on Egyptian churches in Libya and Tripoli's call for Cairo to hand over Gaddafi-era officials.Last Mod: 20 Ekim 2013, 23:40