A group of 17 Indian nationals who were held captive by an armed group in Libya have been successfully freed, and repatriated after six months of captivity.
The Indian Embassy in Tunis and the Indian Foreign Ministry played crucial roles in coordinating efforts to secure their release, sources told Hindustan Times newspaper.
The Embassy which also covers Libya, was alerted to the plight of the captive Indians on 26 May. It remains unclear when exactly the group was taken captive, after being trafficked from India by the armed group in the city of Zwara in Libya.
Thanks to the intervention of Indian diplomats in Tunis and the Foreign Ministry, the 17 men were safely evacuated from Libya and arrived in New Delhi on the evening of 20 August.
The family members of the Indian nationals brought the case to the attention of the Indian Embassy in Tunis, which maintained close communication with them while actively pursuing the matter with Libyan authorities throughout May and June.
“Efforts were made through formal and informal channels to address the situation,” the newspaper said.
“On 13 June, the Libyan authorities managed to rescue the Indian nationals but detained them due to their illegal entry into the country,” explained one of the sources.
However, following the high-level intervention of Indian Ambassador, NJ Gangte in Tunis and senior officials from the Foreign Ministry in New Delhi, the Libyan authorities eventually agreed to release the captive nationals.
During their time in Libya, the Indian Embassy provided essential support to the Indians, ensuring their needs were met, including provisions of food, medicines, and clothing. Since they did not possess passports, emergency travel certificates were issued to facilitate their journey back to India.
This incident follows a similar case in May, when nine Indian crew members of a merchant vessel were also freed after being held captive in Libya for over three months.