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Fate of Egyptian drivers in Libya unclear

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Foreign ministry following up on conflicting reports of at least 50 Egyptians missing in Libya

At least 50 Egyptian nationals are missing and thought to have been detained in Libya, according the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ministry is closely following the situation and is “coordinating around the clock with various Egyptian agencies” to resolve the situation amid conflicting reports coming out of Libya.

Reports emerged on Friday that a group of Egyptian truck drivers and co-drivers had been snatched on a road between Tobruk and Ajdabiya. A member of a Libyan militia group said on Friday that 55 truck drivers had been detained in Ajdabiya along with the trucks and cargo, according to state-run media agency MENA.

On Saturday a Libyan border guard official told MENA that these reports were false, claiming that the Egyptians had been detained because they were protesting for the release of their relatives being held in Libya.

The Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation could not be reached for comment.

Last October dozens of Egyptian truck drivers were abducted along the same stretch of road. The release of the drivers was secured through cooperation between the Egyptian and Libyan sides, according to the foreign ministry.

Egypt has issues and reiterated a travel warning for citizens travelling to Libya. Egyptians are advised not to travel to Libya unless it is absolutely necessary and to travel by airplane not road, and only “after obtaining a valid visa issued by the Libyan embassy in Cairo.” The statement also warned Egyptians inside Libya to exercise caution “in light of the critical and uncertain security and political situation in Libya.”

Egyptians in Libya have faced many issues in recent months, including the killing of 7 Egyptian Coptic Christians and the detention of 60 immigrants. Another Egyptian citizen was shot dead at the end of March in the city of Benghazi.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy received assurances in March, from then Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan for the safety of Egyptian expatriates in Libya.

About the author

Joel Gulhane

News Reporter

Joel Gulhane is a journalist with an interest in Egyptian and regional politics. Follow him on Twitter @jgulhane


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