From David Wilkinson, CNN
Gadhafi warns against intervention
- A helicopter crew was trying to rescue a Dutch citizen from Libya on Sunday
- Three were captured by armed men loyal to Moammar Gadhafi, the Dutch say
- “Intensive negotiations” are under way to get them freed, the Dutch defense ministry says
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(CNN) — Three Dutch Navy personnel were captured by armed men loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi during an evacuation operation on Sunday, the Netherlands Ministry of Defense said Thursday.
“Intensive diplomatic negotiations” are going on between Dutch and Libyan authorities and relatives of the crew are being kept informed, said Otte Beeksma, a spokesman for the Dutch Ministry of Defense.
The crew members were trying to evacuate a Dutch citizen from the Sirte area when they were taken prisoner, he said.
They deployed in a Lynx helicopter from the HMS Tromp, anchored off the Libyan coast, he said.
The ship’s communications officer and Dutch consular authorities immediately tried to negotiate their release, he said.
The Dutch citizen they were trying to rescue and another European Union national have been transferred to the Dutch Embassy in Tripoli, Beeksma said, without explaining whether the Dutch Navy had ever made contact with them.
News of their capture has not been made public until now to prevent further endangering the Navy personnel involved, the spokesman said.
It is not clear if the captors are Libyan military personnel, militias or tribesmen. Libya has not commented publicly on the incident.
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