British aid worker sisters 'raped and kidnapped' crossing Libya


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The Independent Online

Investigations have begun into how British aid workers were kidnapped and assaulted as they travelled through Benghazi in eastern Libya.

Details of the attack remained uncertain this evening with some accounts claiming three women were raped, while others suggested two had been sexually assaulted.

Awad al-Barassi, the Prime Minister of Libya, visited at least two of the victims in hospital  before they were able to fly home. He told media that three women had been raped and that two of them were sisters. He said the sisters had been raped in front of their father.

The Foreign Office was unable to say what had happened. The women and two male companions were understood to be travelling to Benghazi  airport on Tuesday to fly home when they were kidnapped after being stopped at a checkpoint. Mr al-Barassi said the abductors included men in military uniform and a taxi driver. It was reported that four men dismissed from the security forces several months ago had been arrested.

The five Britons had been in a mission to Gaza to break an Israeli blockade but they were stopped at the Libyan border with Egypt and turned back.IHH, a Turkish humanitarian relief organisation, negotiated their release from the kidnappers after being contacted by the aid convoy’s organisers.

The British women are believed to be of Pakistani origin. A Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, condemned the attack,m saying: “A heinous crime has been committed against these female activists.”