An Egyptian fisherman working the nets. (Photo by Ferrell Jenkins)
An Egyptian fisherman working the nets. (Photo by Ferrell Jenkins)

Misrata, Libya, 26 Rabi’ul Akhir 1436/16 February 2015 (MINA) – Armed militia in Libya’s Misrata kidnapped 21 Egyptian fishermen, the head of the fishermen’s syndicate told the press on Saturday.

Head of the syndicate in Kafr El-Sheikh governorate, Ahmed Nassar, urged the authorities to quickly intervene to bring the fishermen back home, Albawaba News quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

The abduction comes in the wake of increased fears that 21 Coptic Egyptians, kidnapped late last year in Libya’s Sirte, were executed by Islamic State or ISIL.

Undated photos published in the latest edition of a magazine affiliated to the extremist group showed captive workers handcuffed and wearing orange-colored jumpsuits often donned by Daesh prisoners about to be executed by the jihadists.

On Friday, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said the fate of the 21 workers remained unknown, but the authorities were doing their best to communicate with all parties in Libya.

The ISIL fighters claimed the kidnapped Egyptian Christians had been captured to avenge the Muslim women “tortured and murdered by the Coptic Church of Egypt”.

Thousands of Egyptians work in Libya, a key destination for Egyptian migrant workers from rural areas, mainly in the construction and craft industries.

In February 2014, seven Egyptian Christians were found shot dead execution-style on a beach in eastern Libya.

Egypt’s government has repeatedly warned in recent months against any travel to Libya and advised those residing in the North African country to stay away from areas of tension. (T/P001/P3)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)