Three Dutch soldiers captured in Libya: Ministry
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Last Updated: Thursday, March 03, 2011, 14:19
The Hague: Three Dutch soldiers were taken prisoner at the weekend by armed men during an operation to evacuate civilians from Libya, the Dutch defence ministry said on Thursday.

"We confirm it," a navy official told AFP when asked about the capture of three marines Sunday reported by Dutch daily De Telegraaf.

The paper said the three marines were captured by armed men loyal to Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi while helping with the evacuation from Sirte in northern Libya of two unnamed civilians, one Dutch and another European, in a helicopter.

The marines were attacked after the helicopter landed. The two civilians were handed over by the Libyans to the Dutch embassy and have since left Libya, according to De Telegraaf.

"Intensive diplomatic discussions are underway for the freeing of the prisoners," according to the Dutch defence ministry quoted by ANP news agency.

The marines and the helicopter were based on board the Dutch frigate Tromp. The warship, which was initially to have taken part in an anti-piracy operation off Somalia, headed on February 24 for the Libyan coast.

The failure of the rescue operation and the capture of the Dutch marines were not made public earlier for security reasons, De Telegraaf said.


First Published: Thursday, March 03, 2011, 14:19

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