Captured Dutch helicopter crew is bearing up well

8th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

The helicopter crew captured at the end of February in Libya during an evacuation mission is fine and is being treated well, Minister of Defence Hans Hillen has told parliament.

The Dutch ambassador in Libya spoke to the three Dutch soldiers very recently. A spokesperson for the minister declined to give further details about what was said and where the soldiers are located. The minister is under the impression they are bearing up well both physically and mentally to the ordeal and they are being fed good food.

Although their released is not yet within sight, the minister sees it as a good sign that the ambassador was given access to them. "We need to be patient and keep our emotions in check," said the minister.

Minister Hillen says the families of the soldiers are being kept informed about the situation. Meanwhile intensive diplomatic efforts to get the three release are continuing. A delegation of top civil servants has travelled to the Mediterranean region to negotiate the release of the three soldiers.

The three soldiers were captured during a failed evacuation mission. They flew in a Lynx helicopter from Dutch naval ship HNLMS Tromp to the Libyan town of Sirte. Before the crew could pick up the two evacuees, a Dutchman and a Swede, they were seized by pro-government troops. The two evacuees were allowed to leave the country via the Dutch embassy.

Back in the Netherlands, there has been fierce criticism of the failed mission.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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