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Jordanian envoy kidnapped in Libya

The Jordanian ambassador to Libya has been kidnapped in the capital Tripoli, in an attack that left his driver wounded, officials say.

Libya’s foreign ministry confirmed Fawaz al-Itan’s kidnapping to the BBC, adding that his driver was in hospital.

The Jordanian prime minister said that the envoy’s release was being negotiated.

Libya has been plagued by instability since armed groups toppled Muammar Gaddafi from power in 2011.

“The Jordanian ambassador was kidnapped this morning. His convoy was attacked by a group of hooded men on board two civilian cars,” government spokesman Said Lassoued told AFP news agency.

On Sunday, Libya’s newly appointed Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni stepped down after what he described as a “cowardly attack” on him and his family by a militia.

Mr Thinni had been appointed as PM after his predecessor Ali Zeidan was sacked for failing to improve security.

In January, five Egyptian embassy staff were kidnapped in Tripoli for a few days before being freed.

Also in January, a South Korean trade official was kidnapped for three days by people thought to be members of a minor armed rebel group, before being freed by security forces.

Several kidnappings of officials in Libya in previous months have been blamed on militiamen.

They are often paid by the government, but their allegiance and who controls them remain in doubt.

There have also been attacks on Westerners in the country.

In January, the bodies of a British man and a woman from New Zealand were discovered near the coastal area of Mellitah, in the west of the country, while an American teacher was shot dead in Benghazi, in the east, in December.

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