Missing journalists held by Libyan army

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 00:24

Tobruk: Three western journalists
who went missing in eastern Libya last week were arrested by forces loyal to
leader Moamer Gaddafi, their driver said.

AFP reporter Dave Clark and photographer Roberto
Schmidt, and Getty photographer Joe Raedle, had not been heard
from since Friday evening.

Driver Mohammed Hamed said that on Saturday morning he
took the three journalists from Tobruk on the road to
Ajdabiya, where Kadhafi loyalists have been fighting eastern
rebels.

A few dozen kilometres from Ajdabiya, they encountered
a convoy of military jeeps and transport vehicles. They turned
around, but were intercepted by the soldiers who caught up
with them and forcibly arrested them, the driver said.

Four soldiers ordered the journalists out of their
vehicle at gunpoint. Clark, an experienced foreign
correspondent, identified themselves in Arabic as journalists,
the driver said.

They were then ordered to kneel on the side of the
road with their hands on their heads.

Other civilians and ambulances arrived on the scene
and were controlled by soldiers who arrived in large number,
Hamed said.

The soldiers then set fire to several vehicles,
including that used by the journalists, who were put into a
military vehicle and driven away.

Clark, 38, and Schmidt, 45, had informed AFP editors
in an email on Friday of their plans to head 35 kilometres out
of Tobruk.

They planned on meeting opponents of the regime of
Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi and speaking with refugees
fleeing the battles between rebels and the loyalists.

Clark and Schmidt were accompanied by Raedle, 45, a
photographer from the Getty Images agency.

The journalists had not been heard of since sending
the email Friday night.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 00:24

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