Two Italian hostages in Libya freed from kidnappers

Two Italians taken hostage in Libya eight months ago have been freed, the Foreign Ministry in Rome said Friday, a day after another two Italians kidnapped at the same time were reported dead.

"Filippo Calcagno and Gino Pollicardo ... are no longer in the hands of their kidnappers, they are under the protection of the Military Council of Sabratha and they are in good health," the Italian ministry said.

The pair appeared in a video published on Facebook by Sabratha Media Center, a non-governmental organization set up by local journalists, sporting long beards. "We hope to return urgently to Italy because we need to be back with our families," Pollicardo says in the footage.

The media centre also published a picture of a hand-written note attributed to Pollicardo, which says that he and his colleague are feeling "physically fairly well but psychologically devastated."

Calcagno and Pollicardo went missing on July 19 along with Fausto Piano and Salvatore Failla, who were killed in a shootout in Sabratha province. All four were working in Libya for Italian oil and gas engineering firm Bonatti.

In an interview with TV2000, the TV channel of Italian Catholic bishops, the foreign minister of the Libyan government in Tripoli - which unlike a rival administration in Tobruk is not recognized internationally - blamed the killings on Islamic State militias.

"I have confirmation that it was an execution at the hands of some Tunisian members of Daesh present in that area," Ali Ramadan Abuzaakouk told the broadcaster, using the Arabic acronym for the terrorist group.

Last update: Fri, 04/03/2016 - 17:49
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