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."
Four Indians abducted in Libya - I am happy we have been able to secure the release of Lakshmikant and Vijay Kumar. Trying for other two.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) July 31, 2015
According to MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup, the two Indians had been brought back safely to University of Sirte.
Welcome news from Libya. 2 of the 4 detained Indians brought back safely to University of Sirte. Our efforts continue for the remaining two.— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) July 31, 2015
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.
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)