Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 18 February tweeted, through its Spokesperson Ahmed Abu-Zeid, that: “Our embassy in Tripoli, Libya, has informed us that the six Egyptians who were kidnapped in Libya have been released. We are following up on procedures for their safe return to home.”
The six Egyptians are Coptic men from the same extended family in the Sohag village of al-Harja, some 500km south of Cairo. Their names are: Mina Kamal Gad Sidrak, Abdel-Messih Gouda Sidrak, Emad Merei Atallah Sidrak, Shenouda Masry Fakhry Shehata, Shenouda Habib Gad Sidrak and Romany Habib Gad Sidrak. They are all construction workers, and had left their home village in Sohag for work in Tripoli, Libya, taking the legal path to leave Egypt and enter Libya.
According to a Sidrak family member in Egypt, the six men had entered Libya at Benghazi with valid travel documents. They were received by a Libyan who let them board a vehicle that headed to Sebrata, Tripoli. On the way, they were stopped at a security checkpoint by unidentified men, and were taken to an unknown location. The driver was later released; he called the Copts’ families in Egypt and told them what happened.
The captors of the six men asked for a ransom of 15,000 Libyan Dinars (EGP100,000) for each of the victims. Mr Sidrak said that one of the kidnapped Copts called home and said they were all being held by an unknown group and that they were kept in a narrow room with other people; he begged the family to rush to pay the ransom money, then the connection was cut off. Mr Sidrak said that the kidnapped Copts again called their families some time later, and persisted in demanding that the ransom money be collected and paid to the kidnappers. They urged him to sell the house they lived in or any personal possession to be able to provide the ransom money. They said their captors beat them, giving them only a little bread to eat, and that they were hardly able to sleep because of the narrow, overcrowded space they were kept in. They said there were other Egyptians there who had been held for many months.
On social media, Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris wrote that the six Coptic young men were released from captivity by an illegal migration gang because they were about to migrate illegally to Italy. “Thank God, they are all in good health,” Mr Sawiris wrote. “We thank the Libyan authorities for their efforts.”
Discussion about this post