By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 29 July 2014:
Maltese oil services worker Martin Galea, who was seized in Tripoli 12 days ago, has . . .[restrict]been released. He was freed late yesterday afternoon following negotiations with his abductors and then flown back to Malta. He is reported in good condition but was taken to Malta’s Mater Dei hospital for a check-up before going home to his family.
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who was at Malta airport to welcome Galea, has said that no ransom was demanded by the kidnappers from his government although his employers, Arab Geophysical Exploration Services Company, had received a demand – elsewhere reported for €400,000. As far as he knew, though, nothing had been paid.
However, sources close to military intelligence in Tripoli have told the Libya Herald that a ransom was paid, but did not say by whom or how much.
The circumstances of Galea’s abduction and release have not been disclosed. One report says that he was seized at the Ain Zara bridge, near Fornaj, by a militia group from Suq Al Juma, but this has not been confirmed. A police investigation has been set up but little is thought will come from it.
Following negotiations involving the Maltese authorities, Galea was delivered by his abductors to the Maltese consulate in Tripoli just before 6pm after a number of last minute changes of venue. At that point a plane left Malta for Mitiga to pick him up. When it arrived there were some slight diffficulties because Galea did not have a passport on him, but this was resolved.
Prime Minister Muscat said that the Maltese had “worked in silence” because of potential dangers Galea. “It was a delicate operation and we didn’t want to risk his life,” he said, thanking “friends” in Libya for Galea’s freedom. [/restrict]