CAIRO: Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Badr Abdel Atty said that the ministry is monitoring the situation of the Egyptian truck drivers taken hostage in Libya Thursday, and is in contact with leaders of tribes in Eastern Libya to resolve the crisis quickly and release the drivers, according to the ministry’s Facebook page.
Abdel Atty also warned Egyptian citizens from traveling to Libya by road and if necessary, citizens are advised to travel to Libya only by air. He said that security in Libya is loose and unstable, especially in Benghazi.
He said the drivers were taken hostage along the Tobruk-Egypt road after being stopped during their return from Libya by Libyan gunmen who blockaded the road.
Head of drivers in Gharbia, Gamal Oun said that there are currently 300 drivers being held in Libya. He said that the Libyans who blockaded the road did not get their salaries from the government and want to pressure the Libyan government to pay them for the drivers’ release.
He told Al-Masry Al-Youm that in the last call he received from one of the drivers, the hostage takers had automatic weapons and were demanding the release of some Libyans held in Egyptian prisons. Oun said that the gunmen took the Egyptian drivers to the mountainous area of Ajdabiya and were allowing them to talk to their families, but prevented them from leaving.
A driver who refused to make his name public told Watan that he demands Egyptian authorities intercede quickly and rescue them because supplies are running low and they have been threatened with death if the gunmen’s demands are not met. The driver added that the gunmen took their passports and beat them when the drivers tried to talk to them.
Additional reporting by Amal Raslan.