Jordanian ambassador freed after Libya kidnap

Fawaz al-Itan on his return to Jordan(13/05/14) Image copyright AP
Image caption Fawaz al-Itan was held for nearly four weeks

Jordan's ambassador to Libya has been freed after being abducted by gunmen in the capital Tripoli last month.

The envoy, Fawaz al-Itan, was released unharmed and was flown back to Jordan on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Jordan has freed a Libyan Islamist militant jailed for life, whose release was reportedly demanded by the kidnappers.

However Jordan's foreign minister denied this had been a "prisoner exchange or deal".

Diplomats have been the targets of a number of abductions in Libya in recent months amid continuing instability.

The central government has struggled to assert its authority over the armed groups and tribesmen who helped end Muammar Gaddafi's 41-year rule in 2011.

'Healthy but tired'

Mr Itan was kidnapped in the Libyan capital on 15 April when masked gunmen shot at his car, wounding the driver.

The diplomat arrived in Amman on Tuesday and was greeted by relatives and officials.

"They (the kidnappers) treated me in a civilised and humane manner," he told reporters after disembarking.

Observers said he looked healthy but tired.

Investigators earlier said the kidnappers had demanded the return of Mohamed Dersi, a Libyan militant who was jailed for life in 2007 for plotting to blow up an airport in Jordan.

A Libyan foreign ministry spokesman confirmed to the BBC that Dersi had been released and was in Libya, but declined to say where he was.

The releases come days after Libyan said it had ratified an extradition accord with Jordan, AFP reports.

Most of the targets of abductions since the revolution have been Libyan officials, including senior members of the government and their families.

However, in January gunmen detained six Egyptian diplomats and embassy employees for a few days following the arrest of a Libyan militia commander in Egypt.

There have also been attacks on Westerners.

In January, the bodies of a British man and a woman from New Zealand were discovered near the coastal area of Mellitah, in the west of the country, while an American teacher was shot dead in the eastern city of Benghazi in December.

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