(AA) – Tunisia’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it can’t confirm the death of two Tunisian journalists in Libya.
The ministry said in a statement that the Libyan charge d’affaires had made contacts with Libyan authorities and could not confirm that the two journalists had been killed.
The two journalists were abducted in Libya last September by Daesh-linked militants while working for Tunisia’s privately-owned “First” TV channel.
At the time, local activists shared photos online showing the two journalists being held by an unidentified gunman.
In January, a militant group in Libya’s eastern town of Barqa announced that it had executed the two men.
On Wednesday, Libya’s Tobruk-based government said that five people had been arrested for suspected involvement in the murder of the two journalists.
“Security agencies have detained five militants who confessed to killing the two journalists,” Justice Ministry spokesman Ahmed Jamhour said.
Libya has remained in a state of relative lawlessness since the 2011 ouster and death of strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
Since then, the country’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of government, each with its own institutions and military capacities.
Vying for legislative authority are a House of Representatives based in Tobruk and an Islamist-led General National Congress that convenes in capital Tripoli.
The two legislative assemblies support two rival governments respectively headquartered in the two cities.