Two British nationals of Pakistani origin have been subjected to a brutal gang rape in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, their father has said.

Awadh al-Barassi said on his Facebook page that the women - part of a humanitarian convoy destined for Gaza, the Palestinian coastal enclave under an Israeli blockade - were "brutally raped" in front of him.

Barassi called the crime a "horrible act".

He said he had been to see the two victims in Benghazi on Thursday, and that the family was "in a very bad psychological state".

The AFP news agency said the two women, accompanied by their father, were with the Gaza convoy when it was blocked from leaving Libya and entering Egypt.

The three decided to return to Benghazi accompanied by two more Britons, with the aim of getting a flight home.
But when they arrived in Libya's second city they were abducted by five unidentified men.

Arrests carried out

A Western diplomatic source speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed the group had been abducted, but was unable to say the women had been sexually assaulted or raped, pending medical reports.

The diplomatic source also said there had been arrests in the case, without specifying how many.

Another source said the family was now being looked after at the Turkish consulate in Benghazi.

Quoting security officials, the Reuters news agency reported five British nationals had been kidnapped by an armed group in Benghazi and that only one was sexually assaulted.

The incident happened early on Wednesday morning and the group was released several hours later, Reuters reported.

They were now with the Turkish consul in Benghazi, Libyan security officials said, according to Reuters.

"They were on their way to Benghazi airport when they were stopped shortly after passing a checkpoint manned by the national army.

They were then led to a place where the crime happened," said a police official investigating the incident.

Source: Agencies