Tripoli, April 1: The 25 thuwar who were captured on Saturday by forces from neighbouring Al-Jmail have been released. “We’re expecting . . .[restrict]than back within the next half hour” said Ayoob Sufayan from the Zuara Media Centre at 21.30 on Sunday evening.
According to Sufayan, official from the Ministry of Defence had been in Al-Jmail negotiating the men’s release during the day as had the military councils of the two towns. The leader of Nalut brigade had also been involved.
The 25 were reportedly working as border patrol guards under the command of the nation guard which is part of the Ministry of Defence.
Government officials have downplayed the importance of the seizure, saying that it had been exaggerated. This drew an angry response from Sufayan. “That is ridiculous,” he said, adding that the situation in the town was still tense.
There appear to be a number of discrepancies in reports of what happened. The Zuara version is that the men were captured at Al-Assah near the border with Tunisia and that there were as many as thousand Al-Jmail forces. Officials say the incident happened at a checkpoint just outside Al-Jamil and that the Zuarans acted aggressively towards the local people, with whom there is a rivalry. They also point out that Al-Jmail is really a large village and say that a thousand fighters is an impossibility.
Observers say, however, that the government does not want another flare up after last week’s violence in Sebha.