Four Christian Egyptians Kidnapped by Armed Men, Remain Missing in Libya

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According to the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, four Egyptians were kidnapped in Libya yesterday, near Sirte,, targeted specifically because they were Christians.

The four victims are all related — three are brothers and the fourth is the son of their cousin. The Egyptian human rights group, which received notification of the kidnapping from a member of the victims’ family, said that the four had been on their way from Tripoli to the Egyptian border when they were abducted.

They were in a vehicle with three other Egyptians, who are Muslims, and had just passed through Sirte when they were stopped at a checkpoint. Armed men asked to see the passengers’ papers and passports. Then they began asking each passenger about his religious beliefs.

According to one of the other passengers, when the armed men realised that four of the Egyptians were Christians, they ordered them to disembark and ordered the driver to depart with the other three. One of the passengers and the driver tried to ask what was going to happen to the victims. The abductors became angry and began to threaten them, telling them to leave immediately.

When the remaining passengers reached Egypt, one of them informed the family of the victims. According to the human rights group, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also been notified and has promised to take action.

The four men are named as brothers Jamal Matta Hakim, Rafat Matta Hakim, and Romani Matta Hakim, and the son of their cousin, Adel Sadiki Hakim.

Egyptians leaving Tripoli had been leaving via the Tunisia border crossing. It was reported yesterday that Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned Egyptians not to use that border crossing anymore, citing dangerous living conditions at the border. This is thought to be the reason why the men traveled the longer distance east from Tripoli toward Egypt’s Salloum crossing.

Libya Herald