By Sami Zaptia.
London, 16 February 2019:
Libya’s Tripoli Ministry of Interior (MoI) confirmed media reports of last week’s kidnapping of 14 Tunisians working at Zawia refinery.
The MoI confirmed that they were kidnapped by an “armed group” on their way to work at the refinery. It did not reveal the identity of the group nor disclose if it knew the identity of the group.
Libyan media reports have speculated that the Tunisians were kidnapped in order to be used in a swap for Libyans imprisoned by the Tunisian authorities.
The MoI said that it was following the incident with keen interest and concern.
It warned against the consequences of these extrajudicial acts, which endanger the safety of civilians and harm the national interest of Libyans.
The MoI stressed its eagerness to ensure the safety of all foreigners in Libya and said it will not allow the extortion of their countries for personal purposes.
The MoI stressed the close relations between Tunisia and Libya, and said it will not allow these absurd acts to affect them.
The MoI said that Minister Bashagha has instructed the creation of a crisis committee led by security chiefs in Zawia.
He also ordered the declaration of a state of emergency in Zawia’s Security Directorates which were empowered to take all urgent measures and contacts necessary to ensure the safety of the abductees and their immediate and unconditional release.
The MoI said it was communicating with the Tunisian side and informing them of the circumstances and the results of its investigations.