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TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan gunmen blocked and damaged part of a United Nations convoy on a coastal road west of the capital, Tripoli, on Wednesday, the U.N. mission and diplomatic sources said.

"The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) confirms that a UN convoy was hit today travelling between Surman and Tripoli," a statement from the mission said. "UNSMIL has made contact with the staff concerned. There are no reports of casualties among UN staff." 

A member of parliament for Zawiya, Abdallah Alafi, said five male U.N. staff and two female staff had been briefly detained and then released. A government media official wrote on Twitter that all U.N. staff members had been freed.

Surman is just west of the city of Zawiya. A number of militias have a presence in the area and the road is often closed because of local disputes. Kidnappings are common.

(Reporting by Aidan Lewis and Ayman al-Warfalli)

Reuters