Egyptians returning from Libya: Kidnapped or detained?
Cairo International Airport - YOUM7
By AMIRA EL-FEKKI

CAIRO: Twelve Egyptians returned to Egypt Tuesday claiming they had been kidnapped in Libya, according to Youm7, however, Libyan and Egyptians authorities claim the Egyptians had been held in Libyan custody and were not kidnapped.

“We were kidnapped and asked for money. We were 70 people and there were other nationalities. One of us went to get money and was able to reach authorities and that’s how the embassy located us,” Mohamed Kareem, one of the released Egyptians, told Al-Hayat TV Channel Tuesday.

The twelve Egyptians told Youm7 that nearly ten armed men robbed them and asked for a ransom, which they had to borrow from their relatives and people they know in Libya, in exchange for their release.

Ahmed Ali, one of the released, said he and the others were forced to pay for their airplane tickets to Egypt, and that the Egyptian Foreign Ministry did not bear any expenses, according to Youm7.

“The ministry told us ‘you can return home by land, provided you pay for your tickets once you arrive,’” Ali said.

However, the testimonies of the released Egyptians contradict statements by the Libyan Embassy in Cairo and the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who claim the Egyptians had been held in custody for not having valid residency documents.

The Libyan Ambassador to Cairo Mohamed Fayez told The Cairo Post Wednesday that Egyptians had been detained by Libyan authorities and denied knowledge of their purported kidnapping.

When pressed to comment on the claims made by the released Egyptians, Libya’s Ambassador to Cairo Mohamed Fayez told The Cairo Post, “The only verified incident is the killing of the seven Copts … If you want to find out what is really happening in Libya you should go there yourselves.”

On Tuesday, Atty told Al-Hayat TV channel, “A group of Egyptians have been detained since Thursday, nearly 70 people, but the numbers keep changing according to information provided to us by Libyan authorities.”

While those Egyptians were able to return home, MENA reported on the same day that “unidentified gunmen kidnapped two Egyptian workers from Al-Dawran Island in Sidi Yunis, Benghazi on Tuesday.”

Additional reporting by Ahmed Said.

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