Dutch armed forces personnel detained in Libya
3 March 2011, 11.04 hrs
Last Sunday afternoon a naval helicopter from the Dutch frigate HNLMS Tromp, engaged in a consular evacuation operation in Sirte, was prevented from taking off by an armed Libyan unit loyal to the current regime.
Talks with the Libyan authorities about the situation thus created were launched immediately by the ship's command and by the Dutch authorities in The Hague. The 2 evacuees were transferred today by the Libyans to the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Tripoli. Intensive diplomatic talks are still under way concerning the release of the helicopter's 3 crew members.
The Minister of Defence Hans Hillen and the Chief of Defence general Peter van Uhm express their concern about the crew that is being held captive. The Minister: "We sympathize with the uncertainty of the relatives of the crew. Everything is being done for the safe return of the helicopter crew."
The relatives of the detained military personnel and of the evacuees have been kept informed of developments. For security reasons, this information was not made public earlier and no further information will be released.