By Mustafa Khalifa.
Ghat, 5 November 2016:
Two Italians and a Canadian who were kidnapped in the far south-western border town of Ghat in September were released last last night and flown direct to Italy.
According to Ghat municipal council member Jamal Suleiman, the release took place near the Algeria border following a deal with the kidnappers and the three were then flow direct to Italy from Ghat airport in a private plane sent to collect them.
The Italian foreign ministry has confirmed their release and return to Italy early this morning. It says that Danilo Calonego, Bruno Cacace and Canadian Frank Poccia were freed as a result of collaboration with the Libyan local authorities.
All three, said to be in good heath, were working for Italian construction company Con.I.Cos on the upgrades of Ghat airport.
From the statement made by the municipal councillor and the Italian foreign ministry, it appears that a ransom was paid. It is not known how much.
Welcoming the release and expressing thanks to all who had helped secure the three men’s freedom, Italian foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni said everyone understood that foreigners were “working in particularly difficult conditions for security” in Libya. The “are always at risk,” he noted.