Rome, 5 Shawwal 1436/21 July 2015 (MINA) – Four Italian construction workers have been kidnapped in Libya near an industrial complex owned by the Italian energy giant Eni in the western city of Mellitah, Italy’s Foreign Ministry said Monday.
A ministry statement said the four were employees of the Bonatti construction company, Al Arabiya reports as quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).
The kidnapping occurred Sunday evening and family members had been informed overnight, Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said in Brussels, adding that intelligence agents were working to get more information on the circumstances of the kidnapping.
The ministry noted it had closed its embassy in Libya on Feb. 15 and urged Italians to leave the North African nation because of the dangers. Many Italians work in oil, gas and construction sectors in Libya, which was an Italian colony for much of the first half of the 1900s.
Libya has slid into chaos since the 2011 overthrow and killing of Moammar Gadhafi.
Foreigners are often taken hostage in Libya, either for ransom and of because of their Christian faith.
Some, like 10 Tunisian diplomats seized by gunmen from government-linked militias last month, were freed after demands were met. Last month, an Italian doctor kidnapped in January was also freed.
But others, like dozens of Ethiopians and Egyptian Christians who were seized by Islamic State earlier this year, have been beheaded or shot dead in gruesome killings filmed and later broadcast by the group.
Most governments advise their citizens to avoid travel to Libya. (T/P001/NMT)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)