Four Indian teachers ‘detained’ in Libya
Four Indian teachers working in Libya have been "detained" as they tried to travel home
Four Indian teachers working in Libya have been "detained" as they tried to travel home, New Delhi said Friday, sparking fears they are being held by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria group.
India's foreign ministry said the group was detained at a checkpoint around 31 miles (50 kilometres) from Sirte late Thursday and taken to the southern coastal city, which the jihadist group claims to control.
The teachers, who had been working at Sirte university, were heading for Tripoli where they intended to catch a flight out of the country.
Earlier this year IS overran the airport in Sirte -- the home town of slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi -- in the group's first such military gain in Libya.
"Around 11 pm our mission in Tripoli came to know that four Indian nationals who were returning to India, via Tripoli and Tunis, were detained at a checkpoint," foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup told journalists in New Delhi.
"We are in regular touch with the families concerned and all efforts are being made to ensure the well-being and early release of the four Indian nationals."
Indian media reported that the IS group may be holding the teachers.
A senior ministry official said no individual or group had yet tried to make contact or issue a ransom demand.
Earlier this month India advised its citizens to "use all available means for exiting Libya", saying the security situation was deteriorating.