Tripoli, 28 December 2013:
Four American security staff from the US embassy have been released after their arrest and brief detention near . . .[restrict]the town of Sabratha.
The Americans were arrested yesterday at a checkpoint near Sabratha and the town of Aljalat. Initial reports circulating on social media networks said they were apprehended for not carrying identification. However, images purporting to show two of the men’s embassy ID cards were later circulated on the internet along with photos of light weapons supposedly carried by the men.
Some mystery still surrounds the details of the arrests. The men were said to have been travelling in two vehicles when they were stopped. One of these was reportedly later set ablaze.
They were taken to Sabratha police headquarters before being transferred to Tripoli, where they were later released.
A US Defence Department official told CNN the reasons for the arrests were not yet known, adding that the department was trying to ascertain the facts. The men, the official said, had been “augmenting security at the US embassy in Tripoli.” Other media sources said they were reviewing evacuation routes for embassy staff.
US Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones visited the historic site of Sabratha earlier in the month, describing it on her official Twitter account as: “Libya’s remarkable vestiges of Imperial Rome.” She said she also had an “excellent round table exchange” with the local council, with discussions of community needs and potential cooperation. [/restrict]