New Delhi | Seventeen Indian nationals, who were held captive by an armed group in Libya, have been rescued and brought back to India following sustained efforts by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), people familiar with the matter said on Monday.
The Indian nationals, hailing from Punjab and Haryana, reached Delhi on Sunday evening, they said.
The Indian embassy in Tunis played a key role in evacuation of the Indians, the people said.
The case was brought to the attention of the Indian embassy in Tunis on May 26 by the family members of the stranded Indian nationals.
The Indians were being held captive by an armed group in Zwara City in Libya after they were trafficked to that country, the people cited above said.
The Indian embassy in Tunis regularly pursued the matter with Libyan authorities throughout May and June, as well as through informal channels, they said.
On June 13, Libyan authorities were able to rescue the Indian nationals, but kept them in their custody, given that they had illegally entered the country, the people said.
Following high-level intervention by our ambassador in Tunis and senior MEA officials from New Delhi, Libyan authorities agreed to release them, they said.
During their stay in Libya, the Indian embassy looked after the needs of the Indians, including providing essential food items, medicines and clothes.
Since they did not have passports, emergency certificates were issued for their travel to India, the people said.
Tickets for return to India were also provided and paid for by the Indian embassy, they added.