March 29, 2018 / 10:58 AM / 8 months ago

Mayor of Libyan capital freed after gunpoint abduction: city council

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - The mayor of Libya’s capital has been released after being kidnapped by unknown gunmen from his house overnight, Tripoli’s city council said late on Thursday.

“Thanks to God the mayor of central Tripoli Eng. Abdulraouf Baitelmal has been released,” the municipal council said in a statement.

It had earlier said the mayor was kidnapped “by a foolish party after they stormed his house by force of arms and took him to an unknown destination”.

The reason for the abduction was not immediately clear, and council officials and the mayor could not be reached for comment.

Government officials in Tripoli say security in the capital has improved over the past two years, though abductions remain common.

Armed groups have held real power on the ground in Tripoli since Libya’s 2011 uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.

Reporting by Ahmed Elumami; editing by Ulf Laessing and James Dalgleish

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