Libya says U.S. personnel were held for failing to stop at checkpoint

Reuters

SABRATHA, Libya (Reuters) - Libya on Saturday defended its brief detention of four U.S. military personnel, saying their convoy had failed to stop at a checkpoint and had been carrying weapons.

U.S. officials said earlier the Libyan government had held the men for several hours before they were released.

In the first Libyan comment, police and military officials told Reuters security forces had stopped three cars at a checkpoint near al-Ajailat in western Libya.

Officers noticed two armed Americans sitting in the first car, police said. When they asked them about the weapons the other two cars drove away and one caused a traffic accident before police arrived. The third car disappeared.

Once their identity had been established, the four detained Americans were sent to Tripoli, local officials said.

(Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Andrew Roche)