Seven Indians, who were were kidnapped in Libya last month, have been released, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Monday. The Indian nationals, hailing from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, were kidnapped at Asshwerif on September 14 when they were on their way to the Tripoli airport to catch a flight to India.
“We are happy to inform that the seven Indian nationals who had been abducted at Asshwerif in Libya on September 14 were finally released yesterday,” the MEA said. Last week, MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the Indians were working at a construction and Oil field supplies company.
“Our Ambassador to Tunisia Puneet Roy Kundal spoke to them over phone after they were handed over by the abductors to the company Al Shola Al Mudia. All of them are in good health and are currently staying in the company’s premises in Brega. We are trying to complete requisite formalities to enable their return to India,” the MEA said. Following the kidnapping, the Indian embassy in Tunisia reached out to the Libyan government authorities as also the international organisations present there, seeking help in rescuing the Indian nationals.
The Indian mission in Tunisia handles matters relating to the welfare of Indian nationals in Libya. Libya, an oil-rich country in North Africa, has been witnessing large-scale violence and unrest since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s four-decade regime in 2011.
“We convey our sincere thanks to the Libyan authorities and the tribal elders from the region for their steadfast cooperation in securing the release of our nationals unharmed,” the MEA said. It also reiterated that there is ban on travel of Indian nationals to Libya, irrespective of the purpose, since May 2016 because of the security situation there.
In September 2015, an advisory was issued by the government for Indian nationals to avoid travelling to Libya in view of the security situation there. In May 2016, the government imposed a complete travel ban irrespective of the purpose in view of the deteriorating security situation in Libya.