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    Indian Embassy and External Affairs Ministry Lead Efforts to Rescue and Bring 17 Indians Held Hostage in Libya to Delhi

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    A group of 17 Indian individuals who were taken hostage in Libya have been freed after being held captive for several months. The Indian embassy in Tunis and the external affairs ministry played a crucial role in securing their release and bringing them back to India. The captives, who mostly come from Punjab and Haryana, were first reported as missing by their families on May 26. It is unclear when exactly they were captured by the armed group in Zwara city, Libya.

    With the help of Indian diplomats in Tunis and the external affairs ministry, the 17 men were evacuated from Libya and safely brought back to New Delhi on August 20. The Indian embassy in Tunis maintained constant communication with the families of the captives and consistently pursued the matter with Libyan authorities in May and June. They also made informal efforts to resolve the situation.

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    On June 13, the Libyan authorities managed to rescue the Indian nationals from their captors. However, they were kept in Libyan custody due to their illegal entry into the country. After the intervention of Indian ambassador NJ Gangte in Tunis and senior officials from the external affairs ministry in New Delhi, the Libyan authorities agreed to release the Indian men.

    During their time in Libya, the Indian embassy provided essential support to the captives, ensuring they had food, medicine, and clothing. Emergency certificates were issued since they did not have passports, which facilitated their return to India. The Indian embassy also helped with their travel arrangements and covered the costs of their tickets.

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    This incident follows a previous case in May where nine Indian crew members from a merchant vessel were held captive by a Libyan militia for over three months. The sailors, who were part of the M.T. Maya 1 crew, informed the Indian embassy in Tunisia about their capture on February 15 after their ship had mechanical issues near the Libyan coast. They were eventually released on May 31.

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