Jihadist group in Libya releases video of sobbing hostage

TRIPOLI (AFP) - A Jihadist group in Libya released a video on Monday showing a kidnapped hostage from the Tunisian embassy pleading with the authorities in Tunis to negotiate with his captors.

The hostage, Mohamed ben Sheikh, is shown crying during the five minute video as he calls on Tunisia's president to help rescue him from his plight.

He is being held by a largely unknown group calling themselves Shabab Al-Tawhid.

"Mr President, why do you want to deprive me of life?.. There are no negotiations, they will not release me," he says.

"Mr President, negotiate with them. I want to return to Tunisia. They can kill me at any time." The video was posted on social networking sites.

Mohamed ben Sheikh is one of two officials recently kidnapped from the Tunisian embassy by assailants. The other is diplomat Al-Aroussi Kontassi.

Their abductions come during a string of attacks targeting diplomats in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Jordan's ambassador to Libya has also been kidnapped and Portugal's embassy was attacked by gunmen.

At the end of the video, the captors, in a message to the Tunisian government, claim: "As you imprison ours, we imprison yours. As you kill ours, we kill yours."

According to the authorities in Tunis, the group is demanding the release of Libyans sentenced for their role in a 2011 "terrorist operation" in which two police officers died.