herald

Tuesday 22 August 2017

'Ransom paid' for hostage's release

A British man who had been held hostage by militants in Libya has been released, according to British officials.

David Bolam (inset top) was freed days after the killing of a British hostage, aid worker Alan Henning (inset bottom), by Islamic State militants fighting in Iraq and Syria - the latest in a series of such executions that have been filmed and posted online.

The British Foreign Office gave no further details of who had held Mr Bolam or how he had been released.

"We are glad that David Bolam is safe and well after his ordeal, and that he has been reunited with his family," a spokeswoman said. "We have been supporting his family since he was taken."

British media reported he had been taken hostage in May and had in August featured in a video posted online in which he pleaded for his life.

The BBC reported that his release was secured through the payment of a ransom, facilitated by local political factions in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, where he worked as a teacher.

It cited no sources and the Foreign Office, which does not support the payment of ransoms, declined to comment on the BBC report.

Libya is being racked by violence as the armed groups that helped to topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 turn their guns on each other in a struggle for the country's vast oil resources and political domination.

hnews@herald.ie

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