CAIRO: The Egyptian drivers who were detained by militants in Libya with their trucks are driving back to Egypt, Ali al-Esheiry, assistant to the minister of foreign affairs told MENA Saturday evening.
Esheiry attributed the drivers’ release to efforts made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and military intelligence.
Head of the military intelligence office in Matrouh told Youm7 that the trucks, which were seized near the city of Ajdabia five days ago, are taken to their planned destinations, whether to or out of Libya.
The reported Egyptian and Libyan statements agreed that the motive behind the seizure of the trucks is the imprisonment of Libyan nationals in Egypt on charges of smuggling. However, the number of detained trucks and drivers varied from Egyptian and Libyan sources.
Spokesperson of the Libyan Interior Ministry Ramy Kaal denied news reports claiming Egyptian drivers were abduceted, according to MENA.
Walid Sharqawi, a driver who said he was one of the abducted drivers, told Tahrir TV over the phone that more than 2,000 Egyptian drivers were detained.
Sources in contact with the detained drivers told Youm7 that over 400 trucks and 500 drivers were seized because a Libyan was sentenced to 25 years in prison in Egypt in a smuggling case.
The abduction and killing of Egyptians has been frequent in Libya, which has been struggling with lawlessness since the overthrow of late President Muammar Gaddafi.
On Feb. 24, seven Egyptian Copts were dragged out of their homes by Islamists and were found shot in the head outside Benghazi.
Additional reporting by Mohamed Kamel and Hassan Mashaly.