Canada’s foreign ministry says it is “aware” of reports that a Canadian citizen has been abducted in Libya, but it has not officially confirmed the kidnapping.
“We are aware of the troubling, yet unconfirmed report of the abduction of a Canadian citizen in Libya,” wrote Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Austin Jean in an email early Tuesday.
“We are diligently pursuing all appropriate channels.”
The Canadian national, who has yet to be identified, was reportedly taken by a criminal gang along with two Italians. Italy’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed the abduction of two of its citizens, but declined to provide details.
The three victims were working on airport projects and were abducted between the towns of Ghat and Tahala, near the border with Algeria early on Monday, Ghat’s mayor Gomani Mohamad Saleh told Reuters.
“The two Italians were working on a runway project at the airport but the Canadian was working on installing air aviation system,” he said on Tuesday.
“The security authorities are following the incident closely … That’s all the information we have so far.”
Numerous criminal and armed groups are active in Libya’s vast southern desert, and al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants have long had a presence across the border between Libya and Algeria.
- In this March 2011 file photo, an anti-government rebel sits with an anti-aircraft weapon in front an oil refinery in Ras Lanouf, eastern Libya.