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RAHUL GARG | 16 SEPTEMBER, 2016

Two Indians Rescued From Libya, Says Sushma Swaraj In Tweet


NEW DELHI: Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj took to Twitter to announce that two Indians have been rescued from the war torn country of Libya. “I am happy to inform that T Gopalakrishna (AP) & C BalaramKishan (Telangana) who were captive in Libya since 29 July 2015 have been rescued,” Swaraj tweeted.

 The two men are teachers who were captured along with two other colleagues in Libya in July 2015, by a group that owes its allegiance to the Islamic State. The other two -- namely Laxmikant Ramakrishna from Raichur and Mulbagil Vijay Kumar from Bengaluru -- had been rescued in 2015, just days after the kidnapping.

The four teachers worked at the University of Sirte in Libya and were kidnapped at a checkpoint 50km from Sirte as they were to come back to India. They had also been evacuated from Libya in 2104, along with hundreds of other Indians, but had gone back to the University after it reopened in September 2014.


Libya has been plunged into chaos since the removal and killing Libyan leader Gaddafi. As a power vacuum emerged, various groups entered the fray as contenders, including the Islamic State and smaller groups that have since pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. The influence of the Islamic State in Libya came to the fore in 2015 when the group claimed a string of attacks on embassies, released a video purportedly showing the killing of up to 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya, released a video allegedly showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya, claimed an attack on the luxurious Corinthia hotel in central Tripoli -- amongst other incidents of violence.

Libya is imploding. Its oil exports have fallen from 1.4 million barrels a day in 2011 to 235,000 barrels a day. Militias hold 8,000 people in prisons, many of whom say they have been tortured. Some 40,000 people from the town of Tawergha south of Misrata were driven from their homes which have been destroyed.

Unfortunately, the militias are getting stronger not weaker. Libya is a land of regional, tribal, ethnic warlords who are often simply well-armed racketeers exploiting their power and the absence of an adequate police force.

In this scenario -- groups have taken several foreigners hostage. In March this year, two of four Italian construction workers who were kidnapped in Libya in July were freed. In February, two Serbian embassy staff members kidnapped in Libya were among nearly 50 people killed in U.S. air strikes on an Islamic State compound. In March last year, two Bangladeshi citizens, among a group of foreign workers taken hostage by the Islamic State in an attack on a Libyan oilfield, were released.

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