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Egypt says 6 nationals held in western Libya released

February 19, 2023 at 2:38 pm

Egyptian flags in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. [Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]

Egypt said Saturday that six Egyptian nationals held in an irregular detention center in western Libya had been released, Anadolu reports.

“According to the information received from our embassy in Tripoli, the six Egyptians have been released,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said on Twitter.

“We are following their safe return to the homeland,” he added, without providing any further details.

On Thursday, Egyptian lawmaker Mostafa Bakry said six Egyptian workers had been kidnapped and held for ransom in Libya for over a week.

He tweeted that the six Egyptians entered Libya with visas but were abducted while travelling by land to Sabratha in the west of the country in search of jobs.

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The six individuals, who are Christians, hail from Al-Harja Qibli village in Sohag, Upper Egypt, according to Bakry.

On Friday, the Foreign Ministry said the six Egyptians were not being held by the Libyan authorities, without specifying who was holding them.

It added that the six individuals had travelled to Libya on visas which permitted them to stay only in the east of the country.

The ministry also said that it had intervened in 2021 to repatriate the same six individuals after they faced perils in Libya.

For years, Libya has been a main route for Egyptian labor.

Oil-rich Libya has remained in turmoil since 2011 when longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted after four decades in power.

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