February 4, 2015 / 4:38 PM / 5 years ago

Libya releases Russian, Tajik members of detained air crew

TRIPOLI - Libya has released a Russian and a Tajik, both members of an air crew detained after it flew into the North African country from the United Arab Emirates last year without permission, a judicial official said on Wednesday.

The Tripoli-based government, one of two rival governments in Libya, detained seven foreign crew members on Nov. 14 for bringing in a “suspicious cargo” to the southern city of Ghadames on behalf of the UAE.

Libyan news websites close to the eastern-based, internationally recognized government said the plane was delivering aid.

“The Russian and Tajik crew members were released after their accusations were dropped,” Sadiq al-Sour, head of investigations at the Tripoli attorney general’s office, told Reuters.

Four other foreign crew members were already released in December. The pilot will stand trial next week, Sour said.

Libya has two governments and parliaments, dividing the country. The Tripoli government has not been recognized internationally but controls ministries and western regions.

The conflict between the two sides has hampered supplies of food and medical aid to Libya’s remote south. The Tripoli government accuses the UAE and Egypt of helping the east militarily, which they deny.

Reporting by Ahmed Elumami; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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