Published On : Fri, Jul 31st, 2015

Sushma express her content; tweets over Indians’ release after Libya abduction

Two of the four Indians detained in the Libyan city of Sirte, an area under the control of the Islamic State, were freed on Friday evening.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted: “I am happy we have been able to secure the release of Lakshmikant and Vijay Kumar. Trying for other two.”

Three of those abducted are faculty members at the Sirte university and the fourth person works at a university branch in Jufra.

“They are back in the Sirte university,” official sources said.

According to sources, two of those released are from Raichur in Karnataka and state capital Bengaluru.

The Andhra Pradesh government urged Swaraj to expedite steps for safe return of all four. The remaining two hostages are from Hyderabad and Srikakulam.

Vikas Swarup, external affairs ministry spokesperson, said earlier in the day that all four were returning to India through Tripoli when they were detained on Thursday at a checkpoint about 50km from Sirte, hometown of former Libyan strongmen Muammar Gaddafi.  Later, they were taken to the Sirte city.

The incident came a year after 39 Indians were kidnapped from Iraqi city of Mosul. They still remain in the custody of their captors.

Most of Sirte fell to IS in May and the university is not functioning since February, raising doubts that the Indians continued staying there as they were were yet to get their salary dues. All of them had been in Libya for more than a year.

There are 2,000 Indians at present in conflict-hit Libya, who stayed back despite many advisories urging them to leave the country.

Since most of the Indian mission staff to Libya is now based out of Tunis, it is proving to be difficult task for officials to track the developments inside the trouble-torn country.

Last July, a group of 65 Indian nurses were trapped in fighting which engulfed parts of Libya.