2 Italians freed in Libya provide testimony to prosecutors

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

MILAN (AP) — Two Italian construction workers freed after eight months in captivity in Libya arrived back in Italy early Sunday, greeted by family members and Italy's foreign minister before being taken to prosecutors to give testimony on their abduction, liberation and the deaths of two co-workers.

Gino Pollicardo and Filippo Calcagno were liberated Friday. Upon their return home, the two former hostages provided testimony about their captivity to Italian prosecutors, who routinely investigate crimes against Italians abroad.

The denouement comes at a critical moment as Italy contemplates its role in an international military operation to fight the Islamic State group inside Libya, a former Italian colony.

A local official in Sabratha told The Associated Press that the two men managed to break through the front door of the house where they were held, and were then aided by local fighters. The area has seen fierce fighting between IS fighters and Sabratha's local forces, a coalition of militia and forces loyal to the government in Tripoli.

The four employees of an Italian construction company were taken July 1 near an industrial complex owned by energy giant Eni in the western Libyan city of Mellitah.

Two other Italians kidnapped, Fausto Piano and Salvatore Failla, were killed Thursday during a clash between militants from the Islamic State group and local militias. The circumstances of their deaths remained unclear and there was still no indication when their bodies would be returned to Italy, amid protests from their family members over reports that autopsies were being carried out in Libya.

The lawyer for the Failla family, Francesco Caroleo Grimaldi, told Sky TG24 that news of the autopsies in Libya was "an outrage."

"We expect only the return of our father's body. The government must tell us the truth about his death," Stefano Piano, the son of Fausto Piano, was quoted by the ANSA news agency as saying.