Libya: Islamists abduct 4 Italian workers, official

Libya: Islamists abduct 4 Italian workers, official

The Italian Foreign Ministry announced on Monday that four of its citizens still in Libya have been kidnapped in the western city of Mellitah on an industrial sites owned by the Italian oil company Eni.

The four victims are according to the Ministry statement working for Bonatti Construction Company.

They were abducted on Sunday evening and their families were informed on the spot. The Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni speaking from Brussels said the intelligence services are working to gather more information on the incident and people behind the attack.

Italy is an historic partner to Libya as it colonized the North African oil rich country. Many Italian oil and construction companies are still operating in the lawless Libya.

The Italian government as other foreign partners have closed their embassies and foreign representations after the country sank into chaos and lawlessness. The Italian embassy in Tripoli has been closed since February 15 this year.

Scores of foreign diplomats and workers had been kidnapped against ransom or prisoner swap. One Italian doctor was kidnapped in January this year and was freed only recently. 10 other workers at the Tunisian consulate in Tripoli had been abducted and freed against the release of a Libyan war lord captured by Tunisian authorities.

Libya has been without central government since the fall of Col. Moammar Gaddafi in 2011 and the country has divided between two different governments and parliaments all supported by armed militias. Terrorists and criminal groups have taken profit of the chaos to establish training camps and illegal migration criminal networks.

Libya has been an important transit for illegal immigrants taking the desperate boats to reach European coast mainly in Italy and Malta.

The UN has been ushering the rival factions to sign a peace agreement and unity government accord necessary to set Libya on peace track and end the chaos.  UN envoy for Libya Bernardino Leon succeeded in getting majority of Libya political actors to initial the UNMIL draft but the General National Congress based in Tripoli rejected the document saying it was unfair.

The draft, initialed by the rival parliament, the Tobruk-based House of Representative, will help Libya to form a National Accord Government that will set the tone to tackle major challenges rocking one-time prosperous Libya.

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