Libya: More Christians Abducted by Militants
Last Saturday 13 Members of an ethnic religious group from North Africa but primarily Egypt, where they are the largest Christian denomination in the country. Christian workers from Egypt were kidnapped in Libya. A week before that, seven were kidnapped. According to reports from the BBC, they were abducted by masked gunmen in northern Libya.
The BBC reported that eyewitnesses in the city of Sirte said suspected Islamist militants went to a residential compound late at night and asked to see identification papers. Christians were then separated from the Muslims before reportedly being handcuffed and kidnapped.
It is the latest in a series of attacks on Egyptian Christians in Libya.
One witness said 15 masked gunmen went from room to room in the residential complex on Saturday morning. “They had a list of full names of Christians in the building. While checking IDs, Muslims were left while Christians were grabbed,” Hanna Aziz told the Associated Press news agency.
Libya is home to a large community of both Muslim and Coptic Egyptians, with most working in the construction sector. The country has been plagued by instability and infighting since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
A pastor in Libya asks Christians in the West to pray for “all those who are Christians in the country, especially the Coptic Christians who have become immediate targets.”
In 2014 a dozen Christians were killed in Libya.
In a development Tuesday in Cairo, two Egyptian police officers were shot and killed while guarding a Coptic Christian church. The men died instantly after masked gunman fired on them, a local security source and a witness told Reuters.
Wednesday marks Coptic Christmas this year, which usually involves tightened security at Egyptian churches
Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Katie Rouse at 678-410-9575.