British hostage released by Libya militants

David Bolam: 'Helping young people in Libya'. Picture: PA
David Bolam: 'Helping young people in Libya'. Picture: PA
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THE British teacher David Bolam, who had been held hostage by militants in Libya, has been released, the Foreign Office confirmed yesterday.

Mr Bolam was “safe and well” after his release, the Foreign Office said.

It is thought the 63-year-old’s release was secured by local political factions and that money changed hands.

Mr Bolam’s kidnapping had not been reported at the request of the Foreign Office and his family.

Shropshire MP Philip Dunne said he was “absolutely delighted that David Bolam has returned home to his family in Craven Arms” and the UK’s ambassador to Libya also said he was delighted.

Mr Bolam, who flew back to the UK on Thursday night, had been working in Libya for seven years. He was seized by gunmen in May at a checkpoint in Benghazi.

He had appeared in a video posted online on 28 August published by a group calling itself the Army of Islam.

Wearing a white T-shirt and sitting in a concrete room, he appealed to Prime Minister David Cameron to secure his release.

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

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We are glad that David Bolam is safe and well after his ordeal, and that he has been reunited with his family.

“We have been supporting his family since he was taken.”

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.

Iraq ambassador Michael Aron tweeted: “Delighted Benghazi Head Teacher David Bolam has been released after over 4 months in captivity.”

Mr Dunne, a defence minister, said he had been in touch with Mr Bolam’s family.

He added: “David is a dedicated English teacher who had returned to Benghazi to help rebuild the international school of which he was a director, after he had been evacuated during the Arab Spring.‎

“He was trying to help young people in Libya.”