The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in extensive communication with the Libyan government and local authorities in Sirte City to investigate the kidnapping of several Egyptian Christians in Libya.
Foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said in a statement Sunday that the talks between the two sides are being held in the context of “extremely complex conditions”. He added in the statement that there was a degree of lawlessness in many areas across Libya.
Abdelatty reiterated that Egyptians should not travel to Libya under any circumstances during this period due to the deteriorating security situation. The ministry has repeatedly issued warnings in this regard, and it further called on Egyptians currently residing in Libya to find refuge in safe areas away from clashes and stay clear from armed militia’s strongholds.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and other ministry officials met with senior church officials Saturday after 13 Egyptian Christians were kidnapped in Libya, state news agency MENA reported.
The Egyptian citizens were kidnapped in Libya early Saturday morning, when Islamist militia groups stormed at dawn a residential complex in the city of Sirte.
Saturday’s kidnappings, in addition to the seven other Christians who were abducted in the past week, raise the number of Egyptian Christians abducted in Libya to a total of 20.
Shoukry has stated that the ministry is currently looking into providing aerial transportation for Egyptian Christians in Libya, according to state-owned Al-Ahram.
The archbishopric of Samalout, in Minya governorate, called on the Egyptian government Saturday to respond quickly to the evolving crisis and rescue the abducted Egyptians, who are all from Samalout.
The Bishop of Tanta also called on Egyptians in Libya to exercise caution and to avoid travelling by road, but also referred to the Libyan authorities’ efforts to protect all Egyptians, according to Al-Ahram.
Libya has been witnessing ongoing battles between the government and extremist militias. This has led to the obstruction of a peaceful transition in Libya after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.