New Delhi: Two Indian teachers abducted in Libya’s Sirte, a stronghold of Islamic State (ISIS), in July have been freed, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted on Thursday. "I am happy to inform that T Gopalakrishna (AP) & C BalaramKishan (Telangana) who were captive in Libya since 29 July 2015 have been rescued [sic]," she tweeted.
Four Indian men were detained at a checkpoint about 50km from Sirte, hometown of former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, in July while on their way back to India. Two of them – Lakshmikanth from Raichur in Karnataka and Bengaluru resident Vijay Kumar – were released after two days in captivity . The families of both the men were in Hyderabad and they planned to return via Tunisia and Dubai when they were abducted.
The abduction of the four Indians came a year after 39 Indians were kidnapped from the Iraqi city of Mosul. Most of Sirte fell to the Islamic State in May and the university, where the four were working, is located in the IS stronghold. The university has not been operational since February this year and government officials believe that the four had perhaps stayed on to collect their dues.
There are 2,000 Indians at present in conflict-hit Libya, who stayed back despite many advisories urging them to leave the country. Since most of the Indian mission staff to Libya is now based out of Tunis, it is proving to be difficult task for officials to track the developments inside the trouble-torn country.
The ministry was in regular touch with the families concerned and all efforts were being made to ensure the well-being and early release of the Indian nationals, the government said in July.