New Delhi: Almost around a month after 7 Indians were kidnapped in Libya, they were freed on Sunday. Indian envoy to Tunisia Puneet Roy Kundal played a key role in negotiations, leading to the release of the Indian nationals. The negotiations were complex given the fact 2 parallel governments were involved.
India does not have a working mission in Libya and to tackle the current situation, an Indian mission in neighbouring Tunisia is dealing with the affairs.
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The Indians are currently in Brega town, which is the centre of the country’s second-largest hydrocarbon complex. They hail from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh and were kidnapped at a place called Asshwerif in Libya on September 14. They were working at a construction and oil field supplies company and were kidnapped on their way to the Tripoli airport to catch a flight to India.
For local coordination, Tabassum Mansoor, Principal of Indian International School, Benghazi was appointed by the Indian Embassy in Tunisia. Mansoor who has been living in Libya for last 40 years, on the instructions of the Indian Envoy Kundal was in constant touch with all the Libyan authorities especially the company manager and other key players almost on a daily basis.
India in September 2015 issued a travel advisory for Indian nationals to avoid travelling to Libya in view of the security situation there. Later, in May 2016, the government imposed a complete travel ban irrespective of the purpose in view of the deteriorating security situation. The travel ban remains in force.