Officials at the Homeland Security in the eastern Libyan city of Ajdabiya held a closed meeting on Sunday with the local council and civil society organisations to discuss possible ways to secure the release of Egyptian drivers abducted near the city.
Tens of Egyptian drivers have been seized alongside their trucks by armed men on the Tobruk international road near Ajdabiya since Thursday night. They remained incarcerated until time of print.
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that it is “heavily” communicating with Libyan officials and chieftains to “secure the safety of the abducted Egyptians and guarantee their swift return to their homeland.”
The ministry announced in a statement released on Saturday night that it established an operations room in coordination with the its consulate sector, the Egyptian embassy in Tripoli and the Egyptian consulate in Benghazi to overlook the latest developments.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Badr Abdel Atty said the ministry had contacted some of the abducted drivers. “They asserted that they are generously treated,” Abdel Atty said, adding that the ministry’s top priority is “the citizens’ safety and their swift return to their homes.”
The Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation could not be reached for comment.
The leader of the group that carried out the abduction stated on Saturday that the abducted drivers would be released within 48 hours, reported state-run news agency MENA. He added that the prisoners would be provided with all their needs then delivered to Egypt.
The leader reportedly stressed that the abduction holds no political dimensions. He stated that the abductors are ready to release the prisoners on condition that the Egyptian government interferes to release Libyan nationals held in Egyptian prisons, reported MENA.
The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) expressed its “utmost concern” regarding the abduction of the drivers, whose number it reported to be 77, and called for the immediate intervention of the Egyptian foreign ministry and Libyan authorities to secure their release.
EOHR stressed that one of the Egyptian government’s top priorities should be protecting Egyptian citizens inside Egypt and abroad.