Sirte (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Islamic State (IS) kidnapped three Christian men from Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana, this according to a statement the group posted on social media with their passport pictures.
The three men were seized in Noufliyah, an IS stronghold southeast of the city of Sirte, said a local source, who asked not to be named for security reasons. A representative for the internationally recognised government based in Tobruk confirmed the abduction.
In a similar incident, four Italians who worked at the Eni-owned Mellitah oil and gas complex in western Libya, were abducted in the nearby Zuwara, a city under the control of Islamist militias that back the Tripoli government. The four men were on their way back from Tunisia.
This is not the first time that IS targets Christians (and foreign workers) in North Africa, more specifically in Libya.
On 19 April, IS released a video showing the execution of almost 30 men, described as “enemies” from the Ethiopian Church. About 12 of them were beheaded on a Libyan beach, and another 16 were shot in the back of the head.
Back in mid-February, IS had released another video showing the decapitation of 21 men, mostly Egyptian Copts, on a Libyan beach in a morbid set-up that foreshadowed the April beheadings.
After the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, Libya plunged into chaos from which it has not come out yet. This has favoured the emergence of fundamentalist groups like the Islamic State.
The country is split between two governments and parliaments, one based in the capital Tripoli (western Libya) and the other based in the eastern city of Tobruk, each vying for power.
Last month, Jihadis took advantage of chaotic situation to seize Sirte, a city some 450 kilometres east of the capital.