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Odisha man among two Indians kidnapped in Libya

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi/Bhubaneswar, Sep 16:

A worker from Odisha identified as Pravash Ranjan Samal is among two Indians kidnapped from Sirte in Libya, as Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Vikas Swarup informed in New Delhi today.

ISIS fighters on the murderous march: File Pic courtesy: indiatvnews.com
ISIS fighters on the murderous march: File Pic courtesy: indiatvnews.com

The other man has been identified as Ramamurthy Kosanam of Andhra Pradesh. Though officially not confirmed, ISIS hand is suspected by experts.

“The Indian mission in Tripoli has learnt that Pravash Ranjan Samal of Odisha and Ramamurthy Kosanam of Andhra Pradesh have apparently been taken from Ibn-e-Sina in Sirte where they had been working and detained,” said Swarup in a brief statement.

“All efforts are being made to ensure the well-being and secure the early release of our nationals. The Indian mission in Tripoli is making further inquiries for confirmation of the incident and is in touch with the local people, who can help in securing release of the two Indian nationals. The matter has also been taken up at the diplomatic level,” he added.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has asked Resident Commissioner in Delhi S Bharagav to be in constant touch with Ministry of External Affairs to rescue the abducted Odisha man.

The MEA preferred to remain non-committal about the identity of the abductors or their demands, possibly apprehending that it could affect negotaitaions with the abductors for the release of the two Indian nations. But going by past records, ISIS is being suspected for the act by security experts. The notorious terrorist group has been involved in a number of incidents involving taking Indian citizens hostage in Iraq and Syria.

As per information provided by the ministry, with the two new hostages, the total number of Indians in captivity in Libya has now risen to four.

Notably, four Indian teachers working at a university were taken hostage by ISIS from Sirte in August. While two of them – Lakshmikanth and Vijay Kumar from Karnataka – were released after two days in captivity, two others -Tiruveedula Gopikrishna and Balaram from Andhra Pradesh – continue to be held hostage.

At least 39 Indian construction workers are missing in war-torn Iraq. Most of these men are suspected to have been killed or captured by ISIS.

Though the Indian government had issued an advisory for its citizens to leave Libya in July 2014, thousands of Indian contractors and workers continue to work in these countries.

ISIS has taken control of large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria and is fast expanding into Libya and Nigeria.  It has considerable influence over countries in Africa and theArabian Peninsula and plans to set up its caliphate (religious rule) in other parts of the world, including parts of India.