North East Reporter Freed In Libya

A North East reporter captured by Colonel Gaddafi's men in Libya last week has been freed.

38 year old Dave Clark from Gateshead was held with two Western journalists after they ran into a military convoy on the road to the city of Ajdabiya in the east of the country on Saturday.

Their driver said they were forced to kneel beside the road with their hands on their heads, according to the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency.

The Libyan soldiers set fire to the journalists' car before driving them away in a military vehicle.

Mr Clark, an experienced foreign correspondent with AFP, last made contact with his editors on Friday evening.

He sent an email saying he and his colleagues were planning to travel out of the city of Tobruk the next day to interview refugees and leaders of the opposition to Gaddafi.

The British reporter went missing with AFP journalist Roberto Schmidt, 45, and Getty Images photographer Joe Raedle, 45.

In a statement, AFP said: ``The two Agence France-Presse journalists and the Getty Images photographer arrested last Saturday in Libya have just been freed in Tripoli.''

Emmanuel Hoog, president-managing director of AFP said: "All those who at each moment of their life think that liberty is not just a vain word rejoice deeply at this time that Dave Clark, Roberto Schmidt and Joe Raedle are enjoying again this same freedom so necessary to the expression of their life, their talent and their profession of journalist.''

Clark is originally from north-east England, where he worked for the Newcastle Evening Chronicle, and previously headed AFP's bureaux in Baghdad and Lagos in Nigeria. He moved to AFP's Paris headquarters in September 2008 and has been reporting from Libya since March 8. Schmidt holds Colombian and German dual nationality while Raedle is American.