A British man who was shot dead in Libya has been named as energy worker Mark De Salis. His family said they are “shocked and devastated” by his killing, in a statement released through the Foreign Office.
De Salis and a woman from New Zealand were shot dead near the coastal area of Mellitah in the west of the country, according to a Libyan security source.
He had been working in Tripoli for six years. He worked for First Engineering and was currently employed as a power manager bringing generators to Tripoli to provide electricity.
De Salis’ relatives stated that he “liked the Libyan people” and remembered him as a “decent and incredibly loyal man and he was loved by many”. They said the woman who was killed with him was a close friend from New Zealand.
A photograph which is claimed to be of the dead pair has been posted on Facebook. The 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.
In their statement, his relatives said: “The family of Mark De Salis are shocked and devastated to hear about Mark’s death in Libya.
“Mark had been working in Tripoli in Libya for six years. He worked for First Engineering and was currently working as a power manager bringing generators to Tripoli to provide electricity. Mark enjoyed his work in Tripoli and liked the Libyan people.
“Mark enjoyed travelling and had travelled extensively. He was a decent and incredibly loyal man and he was loved by many. He will be sadly missed by his family and friends.”
“Mark was with a close friend from New Zealand who was also killed and our thoughts are with her family at this sad time.
“We would ask that our privacy is respected at this time.”
Foreign Office officials said they are liaising closely with the Libyan government on follow-up, adding that its charge d’affaires had already raised the shooting with authorities.
The Foreign Office said: “We call upon the Libyan Government to carry out a thorough investigation into this tragic incident and 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.”
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.
Nearly two years after the overthrow of Colonel Muammar 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 control.
The Foreign Office advises against travel to most parts of Libya, including Benghazi, and against all but essential travel to coastal areas to the west and east, including Tripoli. It warns of a “high threat from terrorism including kidnapping”.