Tunis: Armed Libyans kidnapped 80 Tunisians

Armed Libyans have kidnapped 80 Tunisians in the border zone between the two countries, Tunisia’s foreign ministry said Tuesday, 10 days after a similar incident in the same area.

“An armed Libyan group captured 80 Tunisian nationals on the road linking the border post of Ras Jdir to Tripoli,” the ministry’s consular affairs chief, Samir Jemai, told a news conference.

“The latest news we have is that four of the 80 people are in the process of being released and repatriated,” he added, saying Tunisia was in talks with its neighbor to secure the rest of the group’s release.

Jemai said he did not know the motive for the abduction, which follows the armed kidnapping of five Tunisian men in the same area on April 7.

The five were released two days later to customs officials at Ras Jdir, the main border crossing between the countries.

The border zone is plagued by violence and black-market trade and has seen a surge of arms trafficking since the Libyan uprising that overthrew Muammar Qaddafi in August last year, according to AFP.