150 Egyptian drivers abducted in Libya

150 Egyptian drivers abducted in Libya
Sat Apr 5, 2014 21:46:21

Armed Libyans have abducted150 Egyptian drivers who were on their way home, along with their trucks, adding to a growing trend of similar attacks.

Saturday's kidnapping was to protest a life sentence handed by Egyptian authorities to a Libyan arms smuggler, Egypt's state-run Al Ahram newspaper reported.

The drivers are being held in Libya’s Ajdabiya district, Omran Ambewa, member of Al-Qanashat tribe — a tribe with presence in both Egypt and Libya — told Ahram Arabic website.

Negiotations between the armed Libyans, military intelligence and tribal chieftains are currently underway to release the Egyptian drivers and their trucks.

On Wednesday, Egyptian authorities slammed Libyan Salama Mohamed Salama with 25 years in prison after he was caught smuggling weapons through the Libyan-Egyptian border.

Egyptian authorities have repeatedly warned Egyptians against travelling to Libya. This is not the first mass abduction targeting Egyptians.

In January, five Egyptian diplomats were kidnapped by militants in retaliation for Egyptian authorities arresting a Libyan militia leader in Cairo. Their release, however, was secured.

In February, seven Egyptian Coptic Christians were found dead on a beach 30 kilometers west of Benghazi, shot in the head and chest by unknown attackers.

Libya is a major destination for Egyptians seeking work abroad. According to a 2010 report by the International Organization for Migration, some 1.5 million Egyptians were working in Libya at that time.

However, the number of Egyptian expats in the country fell sharply after the Libyan uprising in 2011/12, which saw the ouster and death of long-time Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.


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