Seven Indian nationals were kidnapped in Libya last month and the government has been trying to ensure their release, the Ministry of External Affairs said today.
The seven men from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh were working in construction and oil supplies and were kidnapped from a place called Ashwarif on 14th of September.
All of them were on their way to the airport in Tripoli to get back to India when they were kidnapped, foreign ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.
The Ministry of External Affairs is in touch with the Libyan government and some international organisations for their release, he said. The Indian Embassy in Tunisia is also working to secure their release
The government said that it has been informed that all seven Indians are safe, their photographs have been shown and the ministry is also in touch with the families of those kidnapped.
“The government is in touch with their family members and would like to assure them that we are making all possible efforts in consultation and coordination with Libyan authorities and the employer to trace our nationals and secure their release from captivity at the earliest,” he said.
Mr Srivastava said that the Indian government had in September 2015 issued an advisory cautioning against travel to Libya, given the security situation.
This was changed to a complete ban on travel to Libya in 2016 and this ban remains in force even now.
The Indian government is making all efforts for the safe release of those kidnapped, he added.
This is not the first time that Indians have been kidnapped in Libya. A similar incident was reported in 2015 when four Indians were kidnapped and later released and in a separate incident 39 labourers were kidnapped by ISIS in Mosul.
Libya, an oil-rich country in North Africa, has been roiled by large-scale violence and unrest since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s four-decade regime in 2011.