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Middle East

Scores of Egyptians taken hostage in Libya

Libyan gunmen demand release of a national who was handed a life sentence by Egyptian authorities for smuggling arms.

Last updated: 05 Apr 2014 22:31
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Egyptian authorities have warned citizens from traveling to Libya following reoccurring attacks [Reuters]

Armed Libyans have abducted 150 Egyptian drivers who were on their way home, along with their trucksaccording to Egypt's state-run Al Ahram newspaper.

Saturday's kidnapping was to protest against a life sentence passed by Egyptian authorities to a Libyan smuggler, the newspaper reported.

The drivers were being held in Libya’s Ajdabiya district, said Omran Ambewa, a member of Al-Qanashat tribe which has a presence in Libya and Egypt.

This comes days after Egyptian authorities sentenced Salama Mohamed Salama, a Libyan, to 25 years in prison after he was caught smuggling weapons through the Libyan-Egyptian border.

Negiotations between the armed Libyans, military intelligence and tribal chieftains are currently under way to release the Egyptian drivers and their trucks, Al Ahram said.

A series of attacks on Egyptians has prompted authorities in Cairo to give warning against travelling to Libya.

In January, five Egyptian diplomats were kidnapped by militants in retaliation for Egyptian authorities arresting a Libyan rebellion commander in Cairo. They were released as part of a swap.

In February, seven Egyptian Coptic Christians were found dead on a beach 30km west of Benghazi, shot in the head and chest by unknown attackers.

Libya's weak government has been struggling with many armed groups, who contributed in the war against president Muammar Gaddafi, and are now vying for more autonomy a bigger share of the country's wealth.

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Source:
Ahram Online
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