Ten more Egyptians are missing in Libya near the city of Beni Walid, according to their families in Egypt.
Hilal Abdelhamid, a Civil Factions Alliance coordinator from Assiut, sent a letter to Egypt’s ambassador in Libya to call for efforts to search for 10 Egyptians who arrived in Libya on 5 December. The connection with the group, all of whom are from the town of Sahel Selim in Assiut, was lost on 25 December.
He said the missing Egyptians are all workers who have valid residence visas. According to their families, they have been detained by men in police uniform at a checkpoint near Beni Walid, near the Libyan northwest coast.
Hamada Mahmoud Hassan, the brother of one of the missing workers, told Daily News Egypt that the workers travelled from Alexandria’s Borg El-Arab airport. They landed in Tobruk airport in Libya, and used a car to head to their destination of Zliten on the northwest coast.
“The last call we received from Mohamed was on 25 December saying he is detained by police near Beni Walid,” said Hassan.
Hassan said that the few calls his brother gave to the family were very short and he told his family not to call him on the number he called from so he did not get “hurt.”
Another relative of one of the missing, Haytham Hamed Abdelrahman, told Daily News Egypt that the last call his brother made was on 16 December. He said in the call: “we are detained by police and it is going to be two or three days until they release us.”
Abdelhamid said, in his letter to the Egyptian ambassador, that the connection was lost on 25 December and that the detained are asked to pay 2000 Libyan Dinar each (almost EGP 11,000).
He demanded that Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Egyptian ambassador in Libya Mohamed Abu Bakr help search for the kidnapped Egyptians and aid their release.
Over the past week, 20 Egyptians, all of them Christian, were kidnapped in two separate incidents. Egypt’s foreign ministry announced earlier this week that it is in extensive communication with the Libyan government and local authorities in the city of Sirte following the kidnapping.
A “crisis cell” to “secure the lives of Egyptians kidnapped in Libya” and work on their release was formed Monday, upon the orders of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
The crisis cell, including representatives of all ministries and security apparatuses engaging in contact with concerned Libyan parties, convened to discuss the “circumstances” surrounding the two incidents, the foreign ministry statement said.
The ministry has repeatedly issued warnings to Egyptians from travelling to Libya, given the gravity of the security conditions in the restive North African country. It further called on Egyptians currently residing in Libya to find refuge in safe areas away from clashes, and stay clear of militia strongholds.