British man detained in Libya: Foreign Office

16th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain on Tuesday confirmed that one of its nationals had been detained in Libya, after a prisoner paraded before journalists told them he had been fund-raising for an Islamist group.

"We are aware of the detention of a dual British-Libyan national in Libya," the Foreign Office (FCO) said.

Salah Abu Obah told journalists taken to a jail in Tripoli that he had been captured in Zawiyah, a week earlier.

Troops loyal to Moamer Kadhafi recaptured the city from opposition fighters last Friday.

Abu Obah said he had not taken part in any fighting, but had been involved in fund-raising for the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which Britain declared a terrorist organisation in 2005. He was not a member of al-Qaeda, he said.

He had travelled to Libya when he had heard that foreign forces were preparing to attack the country, he said.

Although he spoke limited English, Abu Obah said he had spent 10 years in England. His wife and children were still living in Manchester, northern England, he added.

His wife told Channel Four News that she did not know of her husband's whereabouts. She thought he had been away visiting family.

The detainee said he had joined the Libyan Islamic Fighting group in Yemen 14 years ago.

Abu Obah explained that he then gained asylum in Britain where he continued to "raise money for the jihadist group," although he said he was not involved in any terrorist acts against the country.

Abu Obah, who said he remained in Britain until 2010, claimed he used Didsbury Mosque in Manchester to raise funds.

"We are in touch with the family and are providing consular assistance," the FCO continued.

"We've been in touch with the Turkish embassy, which is representing the country on consular issues in Libya, asking them to urgently raise this issue with Libyan authorities.

"We will monitor the situation closely to make sure we take all the appropriate action," it added.

© 2011 AFP

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