CAIRO: Spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Badr Abdel Atty said Thursday that the Egyptian detainees in Tripoli, Libya would be released shortly.
He announced that Libyan authorities told the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the Egyptians were detained to ensure they had valid residency papers, given the security situation in Libya.
Libyan authorities said the detentions come in the framework of a campaign that aims at verifying residency papers of foreigners in Libya in general and that the Egyptian detainees would be released shortly.
The Libyan permanent envoy to the League of Arab States Ashour Burashed denied the news about the 70 Egyptians had been kidnapped in Libya, reported MENA.
Burashed told MENA that what happened was merely an administrative detention for 46 Egyptian citizens by the Libyan Ministry of Interior to confirm they entered the country legally. Those who entered the country illegally would be deported without being harmed.
He said that there are two million Egyptians in Libya living and working freely so accusations that Egyptians in Libya are targeted are untrue.
The statements by Libyan officials, however, have contradictions regarding the time of the investigation of the 46 Egyptian citizens detained in Tripoli, according to Youm7. The spokesperson of the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Saeed al-Aswad said that the Libyan authorities would start investigating the detained Egyptians within two days, while the spokesperson of the Libyan Ministry of Interior Ramy Kahhal said that the investigation would start on Saturday. Another Libyan source said that they would be released within 48 hours.
Additional reporting by Ahmed Gomaa.