Canadian national, Italians abducted in war-torn Libya

Canadian national, Italians abducted in war-torn Libya
Two Italians and a Canadian citizen have been abducted in the south of Libya, the two countries' foreign ministries said on Monday, in the latest kidnapping involving Europeans.
2 min read
20 September, 2016
Several European expats have been kidnapped in conflict-ridden Libya [Getty]

Two unidentified Italians  and a Canadian citizen were kidnapped in the south of conflict-torn Libya on Monday, the foreign ministries of the two nations said, without revealing further information about the incident.

The Italian pair worked for a ground handling company at Ghat airport near the Algerian border, Libyan sources said, according to Italian press.

"The ministry has been informed of the situation and has been following up on developments from the moment it learnt of the case," a ministry spokesman told AFP.

"We are working with the maximum caution, bearing in mind how delicate the situation is."

Canada's foreign ministry also said it was looking into reports of a kidnapping involving one of its nationals.

"We are aware of the troubling, yet unconfirmed report of the abduction of a Canadian citizen in Libya," ministry spokesman Michael O'Shaughnessy told AFP.

Kidnappings of Europeans have been repeated on several occasions in recent years, as kidnappers continue to target expat staff working in Italian companies across Libya.

Most recently, four Italians working for a construction company were kidnapped in July 2015 near an oil field operated by Italian giant ENI in the region of Mellitah, west of Tripoli.

Two of the hostages were killed six months into their ordeal, likely in clashes between jihadists and local militiamen, while the other two were freed in March.

Libya slid into chaos following the 2011 toppling and killing of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. 

Since 2014, its divisions only increased, splitting it into two governments and parliaments - the internationally recognised one in the country's east, and an Islamist-backed one in Tripoli.

Each side is backed by an array of different militias. Amid the chaos, a Libyan affiliate of the Islamic State group has surged, claiming responsibility for a series of deadly attacks as it tries to expand its territory and take control of oil terminals and fields, the sole source of Libya's wealth.