Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi welcomes the Ethiopian workers upon their arrival at Cairo airport on May 7, 2015 (Photo: State TV)
The Egyptian army freed the Ethiopian workers who arrived at Cairo airport on Thursday morning, after they were kidnapped in Libya, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi announced at an army seminar a few hours later.
The Egyptian president, who personally received the 27 Ethiopians, all Christian, when they arrived at the airport, did not explain how the army had rescued them.
A military source however denied that there had been any direct military intervention to free the Ethiopians, in a statement to the Ahram Arabic news website.
The source added that the kidnapped workers were released after negotiations and coordination between Egypt and Libyan authorities and other forces on the ground.
On 7 May, 13 Ethiopians arrived in Khartoum in the first successful evacuation of more than 300 Ethiopian workers who registered to leave the troubled country through coordination between Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia and the Libyan government.
In April, the Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed the killing of 30 Christian Ethiopian workers in Libya.
In February, Egypt’s fighter planes hit alleged IS targets in Libya’s Derna and Sirte, after IS published a graphic video online purportedly showing the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians kidnapped in Libya.
Egypt, who supports the internationally-recognised Libyan government in Tobruk,has repeatedly called for an international coalition against IS in Libya.