Fierce fighting hinders India's effort to free hostages in Libya

Fierce fighting hinders India's effort to free hostages in Libya

Two of the four Indians who were abducted by Islamic State (IS) militants in Libya last week will reach Bengaluru and Hyderabad on Tuesday, even as the government’s effort to secure the release of the remaining hostages is hindered by escalation of conflict in the western part of the North African country.

Mulbagal Vijaykumar and Lakshmikanth Ramakrishna, who were released by the IS on Friday, are on their way to India, sources in New Delhi told Deccan Herald on Monday. Lakshmikanth will arrive in Hyderabad and proceed to his home in Raichur in Karnataka. Vijaykumar will land in Bengaluru and travel to Bangarpet, from where he hails, sources added.

Both Vijaykumar and Lakshmikanth taught in a university in Sirte — the hometown of slain dictator Muammer Gaddafi, who ruled Libya for 42 years. They and two other colleagues — Balaram and Gopikrishna — were trying to leave Sirte and cross over to Tunisia to return to India when they were kidnapped by militants owing allegiance to IS, apparently last Wednesday.

The officials of the Embassy of India in Tripoli and top brass of the University of Sirte could secure the release of Vijaykumar and Lakshmikanth on Friday. The Islamic State militants handed them over to varsity authorities, although Balaram and Gopikrishna, who hail from Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh and Hyderabad, are yet to be released.   They then travelled to the Embassy of India in Tripoli on Saturday and reached Tunis.

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