CAIRO: Seventeen Egyptian fishermen were arrested in Libya’s Benghazi, said Ahmed Nassar, head of the Egyptian Fishermen’s Syndicate branch in Delta’s Kafr al-Sheikh Thursday.
The fishermen’s boat embarked from Egyptian inlet of Rashid, heading to Malta nine days ago, Nassar said; however, the boat was seized and forcedly escorted to Libya’s Benghazi port, he added.
Nassr and the fishermen’s relatives called for immediate intervention to release the detained people.
Due to the security and political turmoil of Libya, particularly in Islamist-controlled Northern parts, dozens of Egyptian fishermen have been detained or kidnapped; however, most of them were releases after intensified negotiations between Egyptian authorities and Libyan tribes.
A total of 21 fishermen who were been kidnapped in the northwestern Libyan city of Misrata were released in February, according to statement from the Egyptian General Authority for Fish Resources Development (GAFRD). However, Libyan Department of Anti-Illegal Immigration said the fishermen were not kidnapped but seized for illegally entering Libyan waters.
More than 100 Egyptian fishermen were released Thursday from Sudan after being arrested in April over allegedly trespassing in the Sudanese waters and spying.
Egypt warned Thursday of illegal fishing near neighboring countries that witnesses domestic conflicts such as Libya and Yemen, stated Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Badr Abdel Atty.
Since June, 32 Egyptian fishermen have been held by Tunisian and Libyan coast guards for allegedly crossing into the territorial waters of both countries.