Egyptians detained in Libya now held by local authorities: Foreign Ministry

Ahram Online , Sunday 10 Jul 2016

An Egyptian foreign ministry aide last week said the men were abducted by an armed group

Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt's foreign ministry announced Saturday that  the six Egyptians reported kidnapped near Tripoli last week are currently being held by local authorities in the north-western Libyan city of Bani Walid.

Last week, a foreign ministry aide said the Egyptians, who work in the North African country, were abducted by an armed group in the Libyan city as they were departing for Egypt.

Late on Saturday, foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a statement that  the men are now being held by provincial authorities, adding that  necessary measures for their release are underway.

He did not elaborate on the reason for the men's detention.

The information was relayed to the ministry by the Egyptian Embassy in Tripoli, currently operating from Cairo due to the turbulent security situation in Libya.

The embassy "was informed following calls [it has made] that the six Egyptians who were stopped while on their way back from Tripoli are now being held by local authorities in the city of Bani Walid," the ministry quoted the embassy as saying.

The foreign ministry renewed its call that all citizens should avoid travelling to Libya due to the unstable security conditions in the war-torn country, urging Egyptians living there to stay away from conflict zones.

Libya plunged into chaos following the 2011 toppling and killing of dictator Muammar Gadhafi and is now torn between two rival governments and a U.N.-backed unity government.

In April, Bani walid witnessed the killing of 13 Egyptian in a clash with smugglers.

In 2015, Libya's Islamic State affiliate beheaded 20 Egyptian Christians, showing the killings in a video released online that led Egypt to launch airstrikes against the group.

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