Two Italian hostages in Libya freed; two others die

Story highlights

  • Two Italian hostages kidnapped in Libya last year are free; two others died
  • No ransom was paid, Italian Foreign Minister says
  • No group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping

(CNN)Two of four Italian construction workers who were kidnapped in Libya in July are back home, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni told parliament Wednesday, but the other two are dead.

Workers Filippo Calcagno and Gino Pollicardo were freed last Friday and are in Italy with family, Gentiloni said. Contrary to media reports, no ransom was paid, the foreign minister said.
    The other two hostages, Salvatore Failla and Fausto Piano, were killed during a raid near Sabratha, Libya, about 50 miles west of Tripoli, last Wednesday.
    The freed hostages told International Business Times in a statement last week, "I am Gino Pollicardo and with my colleague Filippo Calcagno today, 5 March 2016, we are free. We are moderately well physically but psychologically devastated."
    Last Wednesday, Libyan police conducted a raid in which nine people were shot, Gentiloni said. Among them were Failla and Piano. Two days later Calcagno and Pollicardo were left unattended and were able to escape.
    The employees of the Italian construction company, Bonatti -- based in Parma, Italy -- were kidnapped in July near an oil and gas plant. Gentiloni said the construction workers were driving a minivan when they were stopped by two SUVs packed with armed people, some wearing military uniforms.
    During their captivity, no group claimed responsibility for the kidnappings, Gentiloni said. However, Italian officials believe the four Italians were taken by locals close to radical Islamist groups.
    As for the possibility of any military intervention in Libya, the Italian foreign minister said that it's a "priority interest for Italy to avoid a further degeneration" of the situation in Libya. Gentiloni said the only solution is to keep on working for the construction of a national unity government in Libya.
    Early last year, Italy closed its embassy in Libya and urged Italian citizens to leave the country.