Residing in Libya for over a year and working at the university in Sirte, the four Indians were detained at a checkpoint approximately 50 km outside the town late on Wednesday while on their way back to India.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup on Friday said the Indian mission in Tripoli came to know at 11 PM on July 29 that ‘the four Indian nationals returning to India via Tripoli and Tunis were detained at a checkpoint, 50 km from Sirte’.
Two of them hailed from Hyderabad while the other two were from Raichur and Bengaluru in Karnataka.
Wife of Gopikrishna, one of the men still detained said that she spoke to him last on Wednesday. “He informed me of returning via Tunisia. But since he did not have a visa, he took a permission letter,” Kalyani said.
The process for the release of the other two men is on, said sources.
Ever since former strongman Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in 2011, several militants and Islamist groups have been fighting its war in Libya.
Reports of ISIS capturing these four men started doing rounds as the area where the incident took place is controlled by the Islamic State which has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria and has declared itself a caliphate.
In July last year, the Indian government has issued a warning asking its citizens to vacate Libya following threats in the country. The fact that the Indians who have been kidnapped started working in the country a year ago suggested that they had ignored the warning, said officials.
39 Indian construction workers are still missing in Iraq. According to the reports, they were taken hostages last year at the height of the fighting between Sunni militants and government forces.