New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs on Monday announced that seven Indian nationals who had been abducted at Asshwerif in Libya on 14 September were finally released on Sunday, October 11.
The Government of India has also made it clear that there is a "ban on travel of Indian nationals to Libya", irrespective of the purpose, since May 2016 because of the "security situation" in that country.
"We are happy to inform that the seven Indian nationals who had been abducted at Asshwerif in Libya on 14 September were finally released yesterday (11 October). Our Ambassador to Tunisia, Puneet Roy Kundal, spoke to them over phone after they were handed over by the abductors to the company Al Shola Al Mudia," an MEA statement said here.
Seven Indian nationals who were abducted hailed from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.
"All of them are in good health and are currently staying in the company’s premises in Brega. We are trying to complete requisite formalities to enable their return to India," the MEA said.
The Ministry also conveyed "sincere thanks" to the Libyan authorities and the tribal elders from the region for their steadfast cooperation in securing the release of all seven abducted Indian nationals "unharmed".
"Both our Ambassador to Tunisia and our local consular staff were in constant touch with them and the company all through the crisis. The Ministry would like to reiterate that there is a ban on travel of Indian nationals to Libya, irrespective of the purpose, since May 2016 because of the security situation there," it said.
On September 28, MEA spokesman Anurag Srivastava had said: "We have been closely monitoring the developments in Libya and have noted the progress in intra-Libyan dialogue facilitated by the Kingdom of Morocco and the talks in Montreux, Switzerland under the auspices of the UN Support Mission in Libya".
Seven Indian nationals, hailing from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, were kidnapped at a place called Asshwerif in Libya on September 14.
They were working at a construction and oil field supplies company and were kidnapped on their way to the Tripoli airport to catch a flight to India.
In September 2015, an advisory was issued by the Government of India for Indian nationals to 'avoid travelling' to Libya in view of the security situation there. Later, in May 2016, the Government imposed a complete travel ban irrespective of the purpose in view of the much deteriorated security situation. This travel ban is still in force, the MEA had said.