Canadian and two Italians taken hostage in Libya

Published by The Guardian
On 26 September 2016 saa 02:28
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Canadian government confirms citizen taken hostage and says it is ‘diligently’ seeking more information, after Libyan authorities reported kidnappings.

Canada confirmed on Sunday it had become aware of a citizen taken hostage in Libya and was “diligently pursuing all appropriate channels to obtain more information”.

Libyan authorities said last week a Canadian and two Italians had been kidnapped in the country’s south-western desert, possibly by a criminal gang. The Canadian government then called the matter “unconfirmed”.

On Sunday, Global Affairs Canada, the country’s foreign department, called the kidnapping “troubling” but declined to provide more details.

“The government of Canada will not comment or release any information which may compromise ongoing efforts to secure their release or endanger the safety of Canadian citizens,” a spokeswoman said in an email.

The three victims, who were working on airport projects, were abducted between the towns of Ghat and Tahala, near the border with Algeria, early last Monday, according to Ghat mayor Gomani Mohamad Saleh.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible or what the hostages’ current circumstances were.

Numerous criminal and armed groups are active in Libya’s vast southern desert. Al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants have long had a presence across the border between Libya and Algeria.

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Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. The government confirmed on 25 September 2016 that a Canadian had been taken hostage in Libya.