Spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, Ahmed Abu Zaid, announced the release of six Egyptians detained in Libya, where an armed group demanded paying sums of money for their release, prompting their families to appeal to the Egyptian authorities to intervene.
Abu Zaid tweeted on Friday, “According to information received from our embassy in Tripoli, the six Egyptians detained in Libya have been released. We are following the safe return of the Egyptians to the homeland,” without giving details on how they were released.
While the eighth anniversary, this month, passes since the slaughter of 21 Egyptians in Libya at the hands of ISIS, in a scene that prompted the Egyptian government to launch retaliatory air strikes, six Coptic Egyptians were kidnapped by an unknown armed group demanding a ransom of 15,000 Libyan dinar (about $3,000) for each person, which the families of the kidnapped were unable to provide, given their poor economic conditions, which prompted their children to travel and take risks to work in Libya.
In a phone call to Independent Arabia, minutes before the Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s announcement, Hani Sedrak, a relative of the six Egyptians kidnapped in Libya, said that they had received a call from Libya stating that their relatives had been freed, and that they were on their way to the Egyptian embassy in Tripoli, without knowing the details of how they were released by the armed group that detained them a few days ago.
The six abductees belong to one family from the village of Al-Harjah in Sohag, where Sedrak explained in his speech that the kidnapped are his brother and four of his cousins and uncle, explaining that they traveled two weeks ago legally through an employment contractor in Egypt, and they obtained visas to enter the airport of Benghazi.
While they were on their way to their workplace in Sabratha west of Tripoli, they were stopped by what is believed to be a security ambush, and they were taken to an unknown location. The Libyan who was driving the car was released, and he, in turn, contacted the family of the kidnapped in Egypt.
While Hani and the family believed that their relatives were being held by the Libyan authorities, and they in turn informed the Egyptian authorities to intervene, the family received relief messages from their children in Libya by phone asking them to pay the ransom, with scenes of violence and starvation in a cramped room where they were being held with others. .
Some groups of Egyptians abroad called, on Facebook, for an initiative to donate money to save the six kidnapped, which sparked a discussion regarding concerns about encouraging criminals to carry out more kidnappings of Egyptians working in Libya, while other concerns were raised regarding the sale of the victims to terrorist organizations such as ISIS, which happened with the 21 victims who were killed in February 2015 by ISIS in Sirte.
On Friday morning, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement confirming that the ministry and the concerned state agencies are following with great interest the position of the six Egyptians who were detained in an illegal migration center in western Libya, which is not subject to the Libyan authorities.
The Egyptian embassy in Tripoli communicated with the concerned Libyan authorities to intervene in order to release the citizens. The statement stated that the consular sector of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs received the citizens’ families more than once during the past days to follow up on the citizens’ situation and work for their release.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said, “The six citizens left the country with travel permits that stipulated their presence in the Libyan East only, without going beyond it to other regions, which the citizens pledged to abide by.” It added, “A number of the aforementioned citizens were found in Libya in 2021, and were exposed to risks that required the intervention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time with the Libyan authorities to facilitate their deportation and return them safely to the homeland.”
However, Sedrak denied that his relatives knew about the condition of working in eastern Libya only, as according to the contractor responsible for the work contracts they obtained in return for money, their place of work was supposed to be in Tripoli.
He also indicated that his family was working in Libya during the rule of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, and that they had to return to Egypt after the Libyan revolution broke out in 2011, denying that they were found in 2021 in Libya.
Report by: Enjy Majdy, Independent Arabia.
Translated by the Libya Update