Last updated: 5 March, 2014

Libyan officer’s son freed a month after kidnapping

The son of the commander of Libya’s special forces was freed Wednesday, more than one month after being kidnapped in the eastern city of Benghazi, a military spokesman told AFP.

“The son of Wanis Abu Khamada has been released. He is on his way home,” special forces spokesman Milud al-Zwei said.

Zwei was unable to give any further details about the kidnapping and release of Ali Abu Khamada.

The student was abducted on January 30 by an armed group as he left Gar Younes university in Benghazi, sparking clashes between special forces units and armed groups that left at least one soldier dead.

Witnesses said the heaviest clashes were at a base operated by an Islamist ex-rebel group, the Brigade of the February 17 Martyrs, which denied involvement in Ali’s kidnapping.

Armed groups regularly target army special forces in Benghazi, a bastion of Islamist extremists who have been accused of carrying out a wave of attacks on security forces and Western interests.

Pending the formation of a professional army and police force, the central authorities in Tripoli have tried to avoid an all-out confrontation with groups of heavily armed former rebels who fought to topple dictator Moamer Kadhafi in the 2011 uprising.