Libya says senior official released, 2 weeks after abduction

·2 min read

CAIRO (AP) — Libyan authorities said a senior government official was released on Tuesday, two weeks after armed men abducted him and his colleague in the capital of Tripoli.

Rida Faraj Fraitis, the chief of staff for the first deputy prime minister, returned to the eastern city of Benghazi, the statement from the unity government said. Fraitis' colleague was also released, it added. Photos of the freed official in Benghazi circulated on social media.

The government hasn’t said which armed group was suspected in the abduction of the two men earlier this month.

A government spokesman did not respond to calls seeking comment. The U.N. mission in Libya condemned the abduction last week and expressed concerns over targeting of Libyan officials who support the country's democratic transition.

Libya has been wracked by chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. In the following years, the oil-rich country split between rival authorities in Tripoli and in the country’s east, each allied with an array of militias and backed by foreign mercenaries and different regional powers.

A U.N.-backed peace process and a cease-fire deal ushered in the interim unity government, which is supposed to oversee national elections coming up in December.

In other developments, pro-Turkey politicians and military figures in western Libyan, on Tuesday slammed demands by a joint military committee to suspend Tripoli's deals with Ankara.

Osama al-Juwaili, a military leader with the Tripoli-allied forces, said they “strongly reject” the call to suspend military and security deals with Turkey. Khaled al-Meshri, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood group in the Libyan capital, also called on the committee, which includes 10 members from eastern and western Libya, to stay out of Tripoli's deals with Turkey.

The Associated Press

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