A BRITISH man has been found dead from gunshot wounds in Libya, the Foreign Office confirmed yesterday.
He and a woman from New Zealand were shot dead near the coastal area of Mellitah in the west of the country. The Briton’s family are thought to have been informed of his death.
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “We are deeply saddened by the murder of a British national and New Zealander in Libya. Police have informed their families and consular officials are providing full support.
“Our charge d’affaires has raised the shooting with the Libyan authorities and we are liaising closely with them on follow-up. We call upon the Libyan government to carry out a thorough investigation to continue to do all it can to bring to justice the perpetrators of this appalling crime, as it strives to build strong rule of law in Libya.”
A photograph that is said to be of the dead pair has been posted on Facebook. The grim picture, which was taken at night, shows them both lying face down on sand.
Near them is what appears to be a picnic blanket with their belongings spread out on it, alongside a backpack.
Mellitah is near the town of Zuwarah and 60 miles west of Tripoli. The area is home to a large oil and gas complex co-owned by Italian company ENI.
The killings come a month after a US teacher was shot dead in the eastern city of Benghazi, after which the Foreign Office said further attacks against westerners were likely.
Sources said the British man was not a teacher, contrary to earlier reports. There were also claims that the pair worked at Mellitah Oil & Gas, which ranks itself as the biggest oil company in Libya. No-one at the company was available for comment.
The instability in Libya means that the number of potential murder suspects is high, an expert said yesterday.
Nearly two years after the overthrow of Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi by rebels supported by British and French air strikes, the north African country has descended into a state of lawlessness as rival militias struggle for power and wealth.
Shashank Joshi, research fellow at defence and security think-tank the Royal United Services Institution, said: “There are so many armed groups in Libya that the number of suspects able and willing to kill a westerner is high.”
Two basketball players detained
A LIBYAN security official claims military troops have detained two Americans in the restive city of Benghazi.
The two are believed to be basketball players and members of the city’s al-Helal team. It is not clear why they were detained at the Benghazi University campus.
There was no immediate comment from the US embassy in Tripoli.