Militants from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) are believed to have kidnapped 86 Eritrean refugees from a smugglers’ caravan in western Libya.
The militants struck at dawn on Wednesday morning, stopping the vehicle before separating Christian refugees from their Muslim counterparts, according to Meron Estafanos, the co-founder of the Stockholm-based International Commission on Eritrean Refugees.
Many of the refugees – among them 12 women – were forced to lie about their faith. Those who claimed to be Muslim were grilled on their knowledge of the Koran, as well as their prayer habits.
Wednesday’s kidnapping bears chilling echoes of a similar incident in April when Isil militants kidnapped 79 Eritrean and Ethiopian Christian refugees. Days later, more than thirty of the men were beheaded or shot dead in scrubland while young survivors were forced to watch.
Details of Wednesday’s attack will emerge in the coming days as a handful of escapees tell their stories. At least nine men were able to dive silently from the back of the jihadists’ speeding truck…