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Armed Libyans free kidnapped Tunisian petrol workers

(Xinhua)

10:09, April 19, 2012

TUNIS, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Libyan rebels freed 80 Tunisian petrol workers kidnapped since Monday, the official TAP press agency reported Wednesday, quoting an interior ministry communique.

More than 150 Tunisians were abducted near the Libyan town of Zawiya since Monday by a group of armed Libyan rebels, TAP reported Tuesday.

The move came as part of a deal involving the release by Tunisian authorities on Tuesday of three Libyans charged with drug consumption in the city of Ben Guardane.

The three Libyan men had been taken to the border crossing of Ras El Jedir and handed over to Libyan authorities.

According to the statement, Tunisian authorities have been in contact with the rebels in order to "guarantee the security of the abducted workers and solve the crisis in a friendly way."

Since the Libyan uprising that led to the overthrow and killing of Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi, the border area between both countries is rife with traffic of all kinds including arms and drug smuggling.

Ten days ago, five Tunisian petrol smugglers were also arrested by Libyan rebels before being released two days later.

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