Egyptian workers kidnapped in Libya over business row

Egyptian workers kidnapped in Libya over business row
A group of Egyptian workers in Libya have been kidnapped over a local business dispute.
2 min read
22 November, 2018
Tobruk is the home of a rival government [Getty]
Sixteen Egyptian workers  have been kidnapped in Libya, following a business dispute in the east of the country, agencies have reported.

The men were taken hostage four days ago in Tobruk by armed gunmen after a row between Libyan contractors and their Egyptian partner, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The workers were from the same Egyptian village as the businessman, who they accuse of stealing 100,000 Libyan dinars ($72,000).

Residents of the Nile Delta village of Kafr el-Sheikh told the agency that the men would be freed if the money is returned to the Libyans, but there are fears for the hostages following "unspecified threats".

"The Libyan side said he wants his money before letting the men go," a resident told the agency, who added that the men would be delivered to the Egyptian border if they secured the money.

"I am now worried about my brother's life because killing in Libya has become a common practice," one man said, who added that his brother paid 7,000 Egyptian pounds ($390) to be smuggled into Libya.

Thousands of Egyptians work in Libya due to economic difficulties in Egypt, many in the construction sector.

A group of 20 Egyptian Christians were murdered by the Islamic State group in 2015, sparking fears about the safety of foreign workers.

Egypt's military has also aided eastern militia leader Khalifa Haftar.