SA man may be among group of workers kidnapped in Libya


Tripoli - Four foreigners, possibly including a South African, working on the construction of a power plant have been abducted by armed men in southern Libya.

Three of the men are Turkish, but there was confusion over the nationality of the fourth, with a local security official saying he was a German engineer and the electricity company giving his nationality as South African.

Nelson Kgwete, spokesperson for the department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco), told News24 the department wasn’t aware of the incident.

He said Dirco would contact its mission in Libya to follow up on the reports.

"An armed group has abducted four workers of different nationalities (Turkish and South African)" in Ubari (1000km) south of Tripoli, the power company overseeing the project said in a statement.

It said the men were kidnapped at 11:30 local time and called for their immediate release.

The Turkish company Enka confirmed in a brief statement the kidnapping of three Turks, including two of its "employees who were in the country on a temporary mission".

At the time, the men were "outside the construction zone," it said.

Earlier, the local official said the four went missing on the road between the power station and the airport at Ubari.

The Libyan company said it deplored the incident, and added that the "strategic" power station project was "in its final phase".

The country has suffered from power shortages since the 2011 revolution that toppled long-time ruler Moamer Kadhafi.

Jihadist groups and militias have often targeted foreign workers and diplomatic missions in the lawlessness that has swept Libya ever since.

In June, gunmen briefly abducted seven members of the UN mission after an attack on their convoy.

Despite losing their Sirte stronghold in December last year, the Islamic State group remains active in Libya where it has since claimed several attacks.

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