By George Grant.
Tripoli, 15 July:
The two Misratan journalists captured in Bani Walid last Sunday have been released and transferred to Jadu, . . .[restrict]it was confirmed today.
The journalists, Yusuf Baadi and Abdul Qader Fusuq, were picked up in Bani Walid on their way back from Mizdah where they had been covering the elections for Misrata’s Tobacts TV station.
“They are in Jadu and they are expected to return to Misrata shortly”, Ahmed Shlack, a fellow journalist at Tobacts TV told the Libya Herald this afternoon.
In return for their release, it is understood that an unspecified number of detainees from Bani Walid being held in Misrata will also be freed.
“Mostly these are Qaddafi loyalists captured either during or shortly after the revolution”, said Taher Zaroog, another Misratan journalist in close contact with the city’s military and political leaders. “However, Misrata will not be releasing anybody against whom evidence of criminal activity exists”.
Numerous delegations had travelled to Bani Walid over the past week to negotiate the journalists’ release, with none proving successful. Most recently, a delegation from Jadu arrived the day before yesterday, and was also initially rebuffed. The delegation resumed its efforts today, however, and this time it succeeded.
Although there have been celebrations in Misrata at the news, three more Misratans captured in Bani Walid on Thursday have yet to be released.
The three, two members of the Libya Shield brigade and an independent journalist, came under attack having passed through the Bir Dufan checkpoint 20 kilometres northeast of the town.
The two shield members, Omran Shaban and Mohammed Al-Ouyb, were taken to hospital in Bani Walid where they are now receiving treatment. Shaban is said to have taken a bullet to the neck.
The journalist, Abdul Aziz Harous, is not believed to have been wounded and is being held separately.
Yesterday, the Libya Herald reported that a third, unknown shield member had also been in the vehicle when it came under attack, but it has now been confirmed that this was in fact Harous.
The release of all three is said to be still under negotiation. [/restrict]