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Kidnapped Diplomat’s Plea: ‘Are You a Father, Mr President?’

TRIPOLI, Libya - A Tunisian diplomat kidnapped in Libya pleaded with his government to negotiate with his captors, according to a video released by an Islamist group on Sunday evening.

Libyan Islamists have seized two Tunisian diplomats in the past month to demand the release of fellow militants jailed in Tunisia for attacking security forces there in 2011, according to the Tunisian government.

Entitled "message of the kidnapped Tunisian diplomat Mohammed Bel Sheikh to the Tunisian government and his family" the video showed the diplomat crying.

"Mr President, negotiate seriously with them," said the diplomat, who was sporting a beard. "They can kill me anytime."

He added: "Mr President, I have three young children," he said. "Are you a father, Mr President?"

Bel Sheikh was kidnapped a month ago, while another Tunisian diplomat was snatched in the Libyan capital last week.

At the end of the video, an Islamist group called Shabab al-Tawhid (Youth of Monotheism) added a message to the Tunisian government: "As you imprison ours we will imprison yours. As you kills ours we will kill yours."

Neither Libyan nor Tunisian officials were immediately available for comment but the diplomat's family confirmed it was Bel Sheikh who appeared in the five-minute video.

"The person who appeared in the video is my brother, that is sure ... we're suffering," his sister Samira Bel Sheikh told Reuters. "Where are the Tunisian authorities a month after his kidnapping. We haven't seen any action or negotiations," she said, adding that her brother had missed the birth of his youngest daughter.

Libyan authorities are struggling to contain former rebels and Islamist militants who fought to depose ex-leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 and who have formed increasingly powerful and violent militias.

- Reuters