Pro-Kadhafi fighters kidnap four Italian journalists



ROME- Fighters loyal to Moamer Kadhafi on Wednesday kidnapped four Italian journalists travelling by car outside Tripoli, the foreign ministry and local media said.
"We know that the journalists are well as one of them called his boss and told him everything," the foreign ministry press service told AFP, adding that it had rolled out a crisis action plan.



Pro-Kadhafi fighters kidnap four Italian journalists
The ministry said forces loyal to Kadhafi appeared to be behind the kidnapping, which occurred on Wednesday morning.
"The zone between Zawiyah and Tripoli is only partially controlled by the rebels," the foreign ministry said.
The group was taken while driving towards the capital from the town of Zawiyah 40 kilometres (25 miles) away, the ANSA news agency quoted Bruno Tucci of a Rome-based journalists association as saying.
A group of Kadhafi loyalists stopped the car, killed the driver, and took the journalists into a house where a reporter for the Avvenire Catholic paper was allowed to call their editors to explain what happened, ANSA reported.
Two other reporters were covering the conflict for Italy's top daily, Corriere della Sera, while the fourth writes for La Stampa, according to the reports.
Elisabetta Rosaspina of Corriere della Sera is the only woman in the group, Tucci told ANSA.
The Italian consul in Benghazi, Guido De Sanctis, told ANSA the journalists were being held in a home in Tripoli not far from the Rixos hotel, where a group of mostly foreign journalists were freed earlier Wednesday after being held by pro-Kadhafi guards.
De Sanctis said the Avvenire reporter had been allowed to make several phone calls from captivity, which he described as "a good sign" for the hostages.
The kidnapping comes on the eve of a visit to Italy by a senior member of Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC).
The rebel movement's number two Mahmud Jibril will meet Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Milan on Thursday.
Several Italian journalists have been victims of kidnappings in the past, notably in Afghanistan and Iraq. Giuliana Sgrena was snatched in 2005 in Iraq while photographer Gabriele Torsello was taken the following year in Afghanistan.
As Libya's former colonial ruler, Italy enjoyed strong economic ties with Kadhafi and was the country's top trade partner before the start of the conflict.
Italy was a key player in the NATO-led air raids during the rebels' six-month uprising against the strongman, who ruled over Libya for 42 years.
Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Tuesday that Kadhafi should be judged by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
Frattini said: "I hope that the National Transitional Council in Bengazi will hand them over to the Hague tribunal" to be tried for crimes against humanity, he said, adding that they could also be "put on trial for other charges in Libyan courts."
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Thursday, August 25th 2011
AFP
           


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