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Africa

Briton and New Zealander found shot dead in western Libya

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-01-03

A British man and a New Zealand woman were found dead in western Libya on Thursday, both with gunshot wounds, while two Americans were arrested in the eastern city of Benghazi, a Libyan security official said.

He said the two victims were teachers in the capital, Tripoli. Their bodies were found alongside their luggage outside the western city of Sabratha, the official said. Their belongings had not been stolen and the motive for their killing was unclear.

"Their bodies were found near the coastal area of Mellitah," the source said, referring to a large oil and gas complex co-owned by Italy's ENI, some 100 km (60 miles) west of Tripoli.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

A spokeswoman for Britain's Foreign Office said that diplomats were aware of reports that the bodies of two foreign nationals had been found in Libya “and are urgently seeking further information from the authorities”. She spoke on condition of anonymity in line with official policy.

A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said the ministry was aware of reports that a New Zealander may have been killed in Libya. "We are working with the relevant authorities to confirm this," he said.

Americans arrested

In a separate incident, two Americans were being held by the Libyan army at its headquarters in the eastern city of Benghazi, several security and army sources told Reuters.

Both were basketball players and were arrested on the campus of Benghazi University, one security source said.

"They were arrested by university guards and then brought by special forces to the army barracks," an army source said.

A State Department official said the US Embassy in Tripoli was aware of the reports of the arrests and was working to obtain additional information but could not make any further comment because of privacy considerations.

Last Friday, four American military personnel were detained by the Libyan government and released after several hours in custody, US and Libyan officials said.

A month ago an American teacher was killed in the eastern city of Benghazi.

The security situation has deteriorated in recent months in the North African country, where the government is struggling to rein in militias and tribesmen who helped oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and kept their guns.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP)

Date created : 2014-01-03

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