Three foreign nationals kidnapped in Libya
Members of the forces loyal to Libya's government in a military operation to clear the IS jihadists from Sirte on September 19. (Representative image) Photograph: (AFP)
Three foreign nationals, including two Italians and a Canadian, were kidnapped in the conflict-torn Libya on Monday, the foreign ministries of those countries said without revealing details of the incident or the identities of the victims.
Canada's foreign affairs ministry told AFP it was seeking confirmation of a kidnapping of one of its nationals in the south of conflict-torn Libya. "We are aware of the troubling, yet unconfirmed report of the abduction of a Canadian citizen in Libya," ministry spokesman Michael O'Shaughnessy said.
Citing Libyan sources, the Italian press said the three worked for a ground handling company at Ghat airport near the Algerian border. "The ministry has been informed of the situation and has been following up on developments from the moment it learnt of the case. We are working with the maximum caution, bearing in mind how delicate the situation is," a ministry spokesman told AFP.
Several Italian companies work in Libya, a former Italian colony, and their expat staff have often fallen prey to kidnappers in recent years.
In July 2015, four Italians working for a construction company were kidnapped near an oil field operated by Italian company ENI in the region of Mellitah, west of Tripoli.
Two of the hostages were killed after six months most likely in clashes between Islamic State (IS) jihadists and local militiamen. The other two were freed in March this year, in a raid on IS group hideouts near the capital.
Chaos has engulfed Libya since the NATO-backed ouster of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The government has struggled to control the powerful militia groups which operate in the region and there have been concerns over the growing influence of the Islamist State in the region.
(WION with inputs from AFP)