New Delhi, October 12: After nearly a month, seven Indian citizens who were kidnapped from Asshwerif in Libya on September 14 have been released as Indian envoy to Tunisia, Puneet Roy Kundal, confirmed the news.
Indian envoy to Tunisia Puneet Roy Kundal played a key role in negotiations, leading to the release of the Indian nationals. The negotiations were complex given the fact 2 parallel governments were involved. It worth to be noted that India does not have a mission in Libya and the Indian mission in Tunisia looks after the welfare of Indians in Libya.
Rescued Indian hostages were originally from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh and they were working at a construction and oil field supplies company. Indian nationals were kidnapped at a place called Asshwerif on September 14 when they were on their way to the Tripoli airport to catch a flight to India.
The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on Thursday confirmed that seven of its nationals were kidnapped in Libya last month and that it was working to free them. He had said that the kidnapped workers are safe and the Indian mission in Tunisia is in touch with the Libyan government for efforts to free them. “The employer has been contacted by the kidnappers and shown photographs as proof that the Indian nationals were safe and keeping well,” he said.
He had further added that "Our Embassy in Tunisia, which handles matters relating to the welfare of Indian nationals in Libya, has reached out to the Libyan government authorities concerned, as also the international organisations present there, to seek their help in rescuing the Indian nationals. The employer has been contacted by the kidnappers and shown photographs as proof that the Indian nationals were safe and keeping well."
Libya, an oil-rich country in North Africa, has been witnessing large-scale violence and unrest since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s four-decade regime in 2011. India in September 2015 issued a travel advisory for Indian nationals to avoid traveling to Libya because of the security situation there. Later, in May 2016, the government imposed a complete travel ban irrespective of the purpose in view of the deteriorating security situation. The travel ban remains in force.