Indians In Libya: Two Of Four Kidnapped Teachers Freed

31/07/2015 10:24 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
NOAH SEELAM via Getty Images
A relative holds up a photograph of Indian national, Balaram, who is thought to have been abducted in Libya, at his residence in Hyderabad on July 31, 2015. Four Indian teachers working in Libya have been 'detained' as they tried to travel home, New Delhi said July 31, sparking fears they are being held by the Islamic State group. India's foreign ministry said the group was detained at a checkpoint around 31 miles (50 kilometres) from Sirte late July 30, and taken to the southern coastal city, which the jihadist group claims to control. AFP PHOTO/ NOAH SEELAM (Photo credit should read NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- Two out of the four Indian teachers who were allegedly kidnapped on July 29 by the Islamic State (ISIS) were released today.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Friday evening that Lakshmikant and Vijay Kumar, two teachers who were returning to India from Tripoli when the incident took place, have been released.

"Four Indians abducted in Libya - I am happy we have been able to secure the release of Lakshmikant and Vijay Kumar," said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. "Trying for other two."

According to MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup, the two Indians had been brought back safely to University of Sirte.

The four teachers were kidnapped on July 29 at around 11 pm, when they were detained at a checkpoint about 50 kilometres from Sirte in north Libya, which is dictator Muammar Gaddafi's hometown. Swarup had earlier said that they were all brought back to Sirte were they were being held.

Two of the Indians are from Hyderabad, while one of them is from Raichur, and another from Bengaluru. Three of them teach at a university in Sirte, while the fourth is stationed at the same university's branch in Jafra.

READ: 4 Indian Teachers Kidnapped In Libya

While no ransom demand has been made yet, the MEA, through its Head of Mission in Tripoli, is ascertaining the details regarding the incident. Earlier in the morning, Swaraj had briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the incident as also the steps being taken by the ministry to secure their release.

They also said the area from where the Indians were kidnapped is under the control of the Islamic State, which has taken control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria and has declared itself a caliphate.

Swaraj also expressed concern over many Indian nurses going back to Yemen where the situation was not normal. "Many Indian nurses we evacuated from Yemen are going back. That is a cause for worry. Situation not normal and we do not have Embassy there," she tweeted.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh government urged Swaraj to expedite steps for the safe return of the Indians.

(with PTI inputs)

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