At least 12 Egyptians were killed in the central town of Bani Walid in western Libya in the past 24 hours in a fight with the families of local human traffickers, the Egyptian ministry of foreign affairs confirmed on Wednesday.
According to Libyan sources, the victims were murdered by the families of three human traffickers who were killed earlier in a fight with 30 Egyptian migrants.
Egypt's foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abou-Zeid said on Wednesday that 12 to 16 Egyptians were killed in confrontations with human traffickers.
The spokesperson told CBC TV channel on Wednesday evening the ministry is trying to determine the identity of the victims.
Meanwhile, also on Wednesday evening, the United Nations' Libya envoy condemned the killing of 12 Egyptians and three Libyan nationals.
"I strongly deplore these terrible killings and call on those with authority on the ground in Bani Walid to ensure that the incidents are investigated and to prevent any further killings," Martin Kobler said in a statement.
In 2015, the Egyptian government issued a warning to Egyptian citizens to avoid travel to Libya after the Islamic State militant group killed 20 Egyptian migrant workers near Derna.
The warning was renewed later that year and remains in effect, as the security situation remains dangerous in the country.
Hundreds of thousands of Egyptian workers have seeked employment in oil-rich Libya in the past five decades. Many have left Libya following the outbreak of civil war in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution which ousted Muammar Ghadafi and the subsequent Nato intervention.