Seven Egyptian workers are still missing after they were abducted in Libya’s western coastal city of Misrata on Monday. Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that it remains in contact with Libyan authorities to determine their whereabouts and secure their release.
The workers, who are from the south-central Egyptian governorate of Minya, were reportedly travelling back to Egypt when they were abducted on Monday. The identity of the kidnappers is still unknown.
Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on Monday stating that it is “closely following the case of the seven people who have been detained at the Al-Karareem district” of Misrata. Egypt’s deputy foreign minister for consular affairs is “conducting contacts with the concerned apparatuses” in Misrata and the Libyan capital Tripoli, the statement added.
The Foreign Ministry concluded by warning Egyptians against non-essential travel to Libya, particularly in areas witnessing political tensions, armed conflict or unstable security conditions, in the current absence of Egyptian diplomatic representation in Libya. The statement reported that travel to Libya “makes it more difficult to deal with cases similar” to this abduction.
Egypt withdrew its diplomatic representatives from Libya in 2014 following the kidnapping of five embassy staff members in Tripoli in January of that year.
This was followed by a string of armed attacks on Egyptian workers based in Libya, along with the execution of 21 Coptic Christians by local Libyan affiliates of the Islamic State (IS) group in 2015. Egyptian airstrikes against Islamic State affiliates were launched the following day, striking several targets in Libya.
More recently, at least 12 Egyptians were reportedly shot dead, and several others abducted in the Libyan town of Bani Waleed in April, in an incident said to be linked to a human trafficking ring.