Islamist militants detains four indian teachers in Libya


New Delhi,July 31: Four Indian teachers, who were returning to India from Libya, have been detained by suspected Islamist militants, the Indian foreign ministry today said .

The incident took place on Wednesday, the ministry said in a statement. The four Indians were returning to India via Tripoli and Tunis when they were detained at a checkpoint some 50km from Sirte, the home town of former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, the statement added.

Media reports in May said that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had seized control of the airport in the city of Sirte after Tripoli-based Libyan government withdrew forces.

"Of the four Indian nationals, two are from Hyderabad, one from Raichur and one from Bengaluru. 

Three of them were faculty members at the Sirte University and one was working at the Sirte University branch in Jufra," the statement said.

"The ministry of external affairs, through its head of mission in Tripoli, is ascertaining the details regarding the incident. According to information available through our sources, all the four Indian nationals have been brought back to the city of Sirte.

We are in regular touch with the families concerned and all efforts are being made to ensure the well-being and early release of the four Indian nationals," the statement said.

Sirte, 450km (280 miles) east of Tripoli, has been a bastion of Islamist extremism, with rival groups   positioned in the Mediterranean city. 

ISIS and the Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) militia alliance tasked by the Tripoli government to secure the city are the main groups involved in the fighting.

India is still trying to locate almost 40 of its nationals taken hostage in Iraq since June last year.

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