Four French held by Libyan rebels freed: foreign ministry

21st May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Four French employees of a private security firm detained by Libyan rebels in Benghazi after an incident on May 11 when their boss was shot dead have been freed, the French foreign ministry said Saturday.

"They were taken to Egypt today and taken into the care of our consular authorities," a ministry statement said.

The rebels said Friday they would soon deport the four after arresting them on suspicion of spying for Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.

The fifth Frenchman, ex-paratrooper Pierre Marziali, was "accidentally" shot dead by the rebels in a murky incident at a checkpoint.

Marziali was the founder of private security firm Secopex which had opened an office in Benghazi and his four companions were also working for the firm.

The rebels charged that the five were not private security contractors but were in Benghazi to sabotage the uprising against Kadhafi.

Secopex Vice President Robert Dulas dismissed the accusations of espionage, insisting that the French authorities and the rebels were aware of the company's activities in Libya.

© 2011 AFP

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