Govt secures release of 2 in Libya; Efforts on for others

RSTV Bureau
Symbolic Image ( PTI )

Symbolic Image ( PTI )

Two of the four Indian teachers, who were abducted in Libya have been released. The Union External Affairs claimed on Friday evening, even as the hectic efforts were on to secure the release of other two. The four teachers were reported to have been kidnapped when they were returning to India from Tripoli and Tunis.

Islamic State terror group (IS) is suspected to be behind the abduction. Of the four Indians abducted, three are the faculty members in University of Sirte in northern Libya.

With no ransom or any other nature of demand made, the government began an all-out effort to secure their release.

“We are in regular touch with the families concerned and all efforts are being made to ensure the well-being and early release of the four Indian nationals,” MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup had told the press in New Delhi Friday morning.

“Three of them were faculty members at the University of Sirte and one was working at the Sirte University’s branch in Jufra,” the MEA spokesperson added.

According to the information gathered by the Indian authorities so far, two are from Hyderabad, one from Raichur and one from Bengaluru. The Government claimed that the four Indians were “detained” at a check point, about 50 km from Sirte. The area is reportedly under the control of the terror outfit.

The Minister of External Affairs also claimed that the Indian Mission in Libya came to know about the “detention” of the four nationals two days ago.

“Two days ago, on July 29th at around 11 pm, our Mission in Tripoli came to know that four Indian nationals, who were returning to India via Tripoli and Tunis, were detained at a checkpoint approximately 50 kilometres from Sirte,” Swarup told the press.

The Ministry of External Affairs, through its Head of Mission in Tripoli, is ascertaining further details regarding the incident. The MEA claimed that as per the information gathered by their “sources”, all the four Indian nationals have been brought back to the city of Sirte.

The area from where the Indians were kidnapped is said to be under the control of the Islamic State (IS), which has taken control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria and has declared itself a caliphate.

Taking serious note of the prevailing situation, the Indian government had in July last year issued an advisory asking its citizens to leave conflict-hit Libya.

The latest incident came even as 39 Indians remain missing in Iraq. They were taken hostage last year at the height of the fighting between Sunni militants and government forces and efforts to get their release have not yielded any results.

(With inputs from the PTI)