The number of Copts kidnapped by Islamist armed groups in Libya has risen to 20. Whereas the number had stood at seven last week, another 13 were kidnapped yesterday. All come from the Upper Egyptian governorate of Minya, some 250km south of Cairo, and were kidnapped at gunpoint when armed militiamen broke into the house they resided in in Sirte. Their families in Egypt got to know about the crime when a number of the kidnapped were able to call them at the early hours of dawn yesterday. Ten other Copts who live in the same house were able to flee; they too called home and confirmed the news.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry is in talks with its Libya counterpart to bring back the Copts, while in Cairo there are demands that the Egyptian government should airlift all Egyptians working in Libya back home to Egypt. It is common knowledge that most of them wish to return home but are unable to owing to the highly risky roads.
Minya churches are holding special prayers for the safety of the kidnapped Copts.
4 January 2015