Libyan militias capture 70 Egyptians in Tripoli

Cairo, March 15 (IANS/EFE) Libyan militias are holding more than 70 Egyptian citizens in Tripoli, Egypt’s foreign ministry said Friday.

The Egyptians were taken into custody in three different districts of the Libyan capital by armed men wearing military uniforms.

“Libyan authorities have informed Egypt that the reason the Egyptians were detained was to determine whether they had valid residency documents, given the state of insecurity Libya is going through,” the Egyptian foreign ministry said.

It also said that this is not a sweeping campaign of arrests and that these actions do not target specific nationalities.

Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi has already contacted his Libyan counterpart Mohamed Abdulaziz to “work with the greatest celerity to free the Egyptians,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry took the occasion to warn Egyptian citizens once again that they should not travel to Libya unless strictly necessary.

Late in January, four employees of the Egyptian embassy in Tripoli were kidnapped, including cultural attache Hilal Cherbini.

The kidnapping came 24 hours after another member of the Egyptian delegation, administrative attache Hamdi Ghanem, had been captured.

The five were released a week later.

The lack of efficient state security forces has led to such actions by Libyan militias, which were founded during the armed uprising that toppled the regime of the late Col. Moammar Gadhafi in October 2011.

–IANS/EFE

vr

IANS