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Media reports in May said that ISIS had seized control of the airport in the city of Sirte after Tripoli-based Libyan government withdrew forces. Photo: AP
Media reports in May said that ISIS had seized control of the airport in the city of Sirte after Tripoli-based Libyan government withdrew forces. Photo: AP

Four Indians detained in Libya by suspected Islamist militants

The four Indian teachers, who were returning to India from Libya, were detained at a checkpoint some 50km from Sirte on Wednesday

New Delhi: Two of four Indian teachers, who were returning to India from Libya and were abducted by suspected Islamist militants earlier this week, have been rescued, the Indian foreign ministry said on Friday.

“Welcome news from Libya. 2 of the 4 detained Indians brought back safely to University of Sirte. Our efforts continue for the remaining two," Vikas Swarup, foreign ministry spokesman, said in a post on Twitter.

Earlier in the day the foreign ministry in a statement said that the detention of the four teachers took place on Wednesday.

“Four Indians abducted in Libya—I am happy we have been able to secure the release of Lakshmikant and Vijay Kumar. Trying for other two," Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said in a post on Twitter.

The four were returning to India via Tripoli and Tunis when they were detained at a checkpoint some 50km from Sirte, the home town of former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, the statement added.

Media reports in May said that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had seized control of the airport in the city of Sirte after the Tripoli-based Libyan government withdrew forces.

“Of the four Indian nationals, two are from Hyderabad, one from Raichur and one from Bengaluru. Three of them were faculty members at the Sirte University and one was working at the Sirte University branch in Jufra," the statement said.

Sirte, 450km (280 miles) east of Tripoli, has been a bastion of Islamist extremism, with rival groups positioned in the Mediterranean city. ISIS and the Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) militia alliance tasked by the Tripoli government to secure the city are the main groups involved in the fighting, according to an AFP report in May.

India is still trying to locate almost 40 of its nationals taken hostage in Iraq since June last year.

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