Africa Libya militias detain 21 Egyptian fishermen

Libya militias detain 21 Egyptian fishermen

Egyptian fishermen who returned home from Libya described how death surrounded them throughout the trip
Egyptian fishermen who returned home from Libya described how death surrounded them throughout the trip

 (AA) – Twenty one Egyptian fishermen are detained by an Islamist militia in Libya’s western city of Misrata, a spokesman of fishermen union in the central Egyptian province of Kafr al-Sheikh has said.

“The Dawn of Libya militia [loyal to the Islamist Tripoli-based government] has been holding 21 Egyptian fishermen from Kafr al-Sheikh for three months now,” fishermen’s union spokesman Ahmed Nassar told The Anadolu Agency.

Nassar said that the detained fishermen were allowed to contact their families for weeks. “But contact between the fishermen and their families has been lost for four days now and nobody knows anything about them,” he said.

The spokesman said that the incident was not initially made public so as not to “complicate” the situation, especially that the union “received promises from the Islamist militia that the fishermen would be returned to Egypt.”

“There were previous cases of abducted Egyptian fishermen in Libya who made it back home after similar promises,” Nassar added.

Nassar noted that he informed Egypt’s foreign ministry of the incident on Saturday and that a delegation from the fishermen’s families will be meeting a ministry official the following day.

The Egyptian government has yet to comment on the incident.

On Thursday, photos emerged of 21 other Egyptians, all Christians, who had been kidnapped earlier by a Libyan branch of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant group.

The photos showed several of the kidnapped Egyptians clad in orange jumpsuits which have been associated with gruesome executions by ISIL.

Following this announcement, Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church said it was working to verify the photos, while the Egyptian presidency said it was closely following developments.

Libya has remained a source of concern for neighboring Egypt since the oil-rich North African country descended into chaos following the 2011 ouster and death of strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

Egyptians in particular became targets for attacks in Libya, prompting Egypt’s Foreign Ministry to warn citizens against travelling to the fractious neighboring state.

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