By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 11 August 2015:
The Indian embassy in Tripoli says it believes that two of its citizens thought to . . .[restrict]be being held by in Islamic State forces in Sirte are safe. “We’re very, very optimistic that they will be released soon,” an official at the embassy told the Libya Herald.
There had been no direct contact with the captors of Ch. Balram and T. Gopi Krishna, he said, but intermediaries had informed them that the two were being well looked after and that they would be freed shortly.
Four Indians, all academics at Sirte Univerisity, were seized on 29 July by IS forces as they were leaving for Tripoli to catch a flight out of the country. Two of them, Lakshmikant Ramakrishna and Vijay Kumar, were then freed a couple of days later but the other two are still unaccounted for.
Contrary to claims that many, if not most of IS supporters in Sirte are foreign, Ramakrishna, now back in India, has said that those who carried out the kidnapping were locals youths who now supported IS, some as young as 13 years of age, others at the university. Some of the latter had actually been his students. They had recognised him and Kumar afterwards and let them go.
The other two were not based at Sirte but at the university’s campus at Hun, 270 kilometres to the south. As such, they were not known to the students, which may have been the reason why they were not released at the same time.
As for media reports that an Indian, thought to be one of the two, had been executed by IS, the embassy official said that they had checked out the story and that the original source had admitted to getting it wrong. [/restrict]