03/04/2016, 13.47
LIBYA
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Libya two Italian hostages freed. In a video: "We are safe"

Happy ending to July kidnapping of Gino Pollicardo and Filippo Calcagno. But in March 2 security forces operation two other workers were killed, Fausto Piano and Salvatore Failla. In a video message they claim to have been "treated well" and say they want "to return to their families."

 

Tripoli (AsiaNews) – There has been a happy ending to the kidnapping of Gino Pollicardo and Filippo Calcagno, two employees of Bonatti of Parma, who have been  in the hands of extremist gangs (or criminal groups) active in Libya since last July.

Fausto Piano and Salvatore Failla, who had been kidnapped with them, were instead killed in a raid by security forces of Sabratha, west of the capital, on the 2nd of March. In a video message (click here to view) the two men said they were "in a police station safe" and add they are being "treated well." The two hope "to return urgently to our families in Italy".

Earlier, a message was posted on the Facebook page of Sabratha Media Center with a photo of the two Italians and a handwritten note from one of the two: "I am Gino Pollicardo and with my colleague Filippo Calcagno today , March 5, 2016, we are free and we are physically well, but psychologically devastated. We urgently need to get back to Italy. "

It was not immediately clear why the message had the date of March 5, perhaps for a mistake made by the hostages who lost track of time in these frantic days. In the shot published by the site in Arabic, the two appear both on the phone sitting on a green couch; both have a long beard and are visibly tried by months of imprisonment.

Commenting on his father’s liberation, Pollicardo’s son exclaimed .: "It's over, it's over" putting aside fears exacerbated in the last hours by the death of the other two colleagues. His wife also confirmed that she had spoken on the phone with the man, who is now in a safe place. According to intelligence sources, the two hostages are in the hands of the police and will soon be transferred to a safe area, taken over by Italian agents who will bring them back to their homeland.

The four had ended up in the hands of the kidnappers, who had stopped them on the road they were travelling on from Tunisia where they had landed, to the Mellitah terminal, controlled by Eni and from where the Greenstream pipeline begins. The group was traveling without escort. Suspicions focused on the driver who is believed to have simulated an assault and handed the Italian workers to a relative, tied to local extremist gangs.

Meanwhile, the situation in Libya is getting more complicated and there are major difficulties in reaching the goal of a national unity government which is exacerbating the crisis. At present there are two different governments: that of Tripoli, in the west, and Tobruk, in the east. Under the aegis of the UN, there were negotiations that led to the signing of an agreement. However, it has not been ratified by the two parliaments, because of the many interests, both domestic and international.

Armed gangs are also operating in the country, extremist groups and militias of the Islamic State, in a context of violence and insecurity. There have been rumors of military intervention by the international community (against the IS) and operations may already begin in the coming days.

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