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NNA – Two Indian teachers who were detained in an area of Libya that the Islamic State group claims to control have been released but two of their colleagues are still being held, the New Delhi government said Friday.
India’s foreign ministry said it was able to “secure the release” of the two after the group was detained at a checkpoint around 30 miles (50 kilometers) from Sirte late Thursday and taken to the southern coastal city.
The teachers, who had been working at Sirte university, were heading for Tripoli where they intended to catch a flight out of the country.
“I am happy we have been able to secure the release of Lakshmikant and Vijay Kumar. Trying for (the) other two,” Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj posted on Twitter, without giving any other details.
Earlier this year IS overran the airport in Sirte — the hometown of slain strongman Moammar Gadhafi — in the jihadist group’s first such military gain in Libya. They have since claimed to control the whole of the city.
Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said the Indian mission in Tripoli “came to know that four Indian nationals who were returning to India, via Tripoli and Tunis, were detained at a checkpoint” around 11 pm Thursday.
“We are in regular touch with the families concerned and all efforts are being made to ensure (their) well-being and early release,” Swarup told journalists earlier on Friday in New Delhi.
Indian media reported that the IS group may be holding the teachers.
A senior ministry official said no individual or group had yet tried to make contact or issue a ransom demand.
Earlier this month India advised its citizens to “use all available means for exiting Libya”, saying the security situation was deteriorating.–AFP