S.Africa working to find missing photographer in Libya

20th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

South Africa on Wednesday said it was doing "everything possible" to find missing photographer Anton Hammerl who disappeared two weeks ago with three other journalists in Libya.

"President (Jacob) Zuma instructed the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to use the necessary diplomatic channels to obtain information regarding his whereabouts," Zuma's office said in a statement.

"The South African mission in Tripoli has now partially opened and is doing everything possible to locate Hammerl."

A small protest took place in Cape Town earlier Wednesday to push the state to give assurances that it is working for Hammerl's release and to express disappointment that Zuma did not raise the matter in a visit to Tripoli.

A second demonstration is set for Thursday in Johannesburg.

Zuma travelled to Libya on April 10 as part of a high-ranking African Union bid to broker a truce between Moamer Kadhafi and rebels, but a peace plan fell through when the rebels insisted the strongman step down.

Hammerl has been missing since April 4 in eastern Libya with Americans Clare Morgana Gillis, of the TheAtlantic.com and James Foley, a freelance reporter with GlobalPost.com, as well as with Spanish photographer Manu Brabo.

The United States expressed concern for the well-being of the four on Tuesday with White House spokesman Jay Carney saying "we are very concerned but can't go into detail," in a post to the microblogging site Twitter.

Citing "several sources in Libya," the online news site GlobalPost reported on April 8 that Tripoli had promised to free them soon.

Musa Ibrahim, the official spokesman for the government of Moamer Kadhafi, told the news outlet that the four journalists were detained by the Libyan military and will be treated correctly, transferred to Tripoli and freed.

© 2011 AFP

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