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Europeans Presumed Kidnapped in Libya

Three Europeans working for an Italian construction company in western Libya are missing and presumed kidnapped.
Photo Credit: VICE News

Three Europeans working for an Italian construction company in western Libya are missing and presumed kidnapped, Libyan and Italian authorities announced Sunday.

The Italian Foreign Ministry confirmed that Marco Vallisa, 53, an engineer for the Piacentini Costruzioni construction company vanished on Saturday in the town of Zuwara, west of the capital, Tripoli.

Valissa's two colleagues who also disappeared are from Bosnia and Macedonia, an unnamed Libyan security official told the Associated Press.


The official said that a Libyan man has been arrested in suspected connection with the abductions, but did not provide further details. He added that armed militia motivated by money or politics are frequently responsible for such kidnapping across the country.

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Bosnia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed one of its citizens was missing and it is currently working with Libyan officials to search for the missing men.

Macedonia's Foreign Ministry said it was investigating reports of a missing Macedonian but had not confirmed any citizens had been kidnapped.

An abandoned car used by the engineers was recovered in Zuwara, a local council official told Reuters.

The Italian construction company in Europe could not immediately be reached for comment.

On the same day the possible kidnappings were announced, heavy gunfire erupted in the capital of Tripoli, between Interior Ministry security and rebel forces.

Photos have emerged of plumes of black smoke rising over the Tripoli neighborhood of al-Siahiya after heavy shelling by Forsan Janzour militia, according to local media.

Photo via Morning Lybia

Meanwhile, continuous gunfire can be heard in a video posted to social media of clashes in the Al Siyahiya neighbourhood on Sunday.

Both incidents are indicative of a spiraling situation precipitated by the government's inability to rein in rebel and militia forces that helped topple former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on 2011, and have since stepped in to fill the power vacuum.

Follow Liz Fields on Twitter: @lianzifields