News / Africa

4 Kidnapped Italian Journalists Freed in Libya

In this image made from television, Italian journalist Claudio Monici of Avvenire, the daily of the Italian bishops conference, speaks to reporters in Tripoli, Libya, Aug. 25, 2011, after his release
In this image made from television, Italian journalist Claudio Monici of Avvenire, the daily of the Italian bishops conference, speaks to reporters in Tripoli, Libya, Aug. 25, 2011, after his release

Italy says four Italian journalists have been freed in Libya a day after being kidnapped by men described as loyalists to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

The Italian Foreign Ministry confirmed the release Thursday, but did not give details.

The group included two newspaper reporters from Milan daily Corriere della Sera, one from Turin's La Stampa and one from the Avvenire Catholic publication.

The journalists' driver was killed during the kidnapping, which occurred Wednesday on a highway between the western town of Zawiya and the capital, Tripoli.

The abduction took place just hours after some 35 foreign journalists held by Gadhafi forces were freed after being detained for about four days inside the Rixos hotel in Tripoli.

The circumstances of their release were not immediately clear.  They were, however, freed shortly after representatives of the International Red Cross arrived at the hotel, which has been under the control of pro-Gadhafi forces.

The journalists said they were met outside the hotel by the representatives, who transported them to another location.

CNN correspondent Matthew Chance was among the journalists who were detained under what he described as "terrible, horrible" conditions.  He told CNN the situation changed when the pro-Gadhafi fighters who controlled the hotel realized the Libyan leader's "regime was over."

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