Middle East

Briton killed in Libya worked for maintenance firm

Police tow a burnt vehicle belonging to U.S diplomats in Al Tawela, near Sabratha, a town located 70 km west of Tripoli, December 28, 2013. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

TRIPOLI: A British man found shot dead in Libya along with a New Zealand woman worked for an equipment maintenance company, an MP said Friday, as police began investigating their murders.

Libyan troops found the bodies of the pair with bullet wounds on a beach in Mellitah, near the city of Sabratha, on Thursday afternoon, according to a security official.

"We are aware of the tragic death of a British national in Libya and we stand ready to provide consular assistance," a spokesman for Britain's Foreign Office told AFP on Friday.

New Zealand's foreign ministry said it was also aware of the reports and was "working with the relevant authorities to confirm this".

"The bodies have not yet been formally identified and the next of kin have not yet been informed," it added.

Libyan police Colonel Hassen Kamoka said a probe had been launched into the deaths, but that there still were no leads as to who the killers were or their motive.

"A team has moved to the scene of the crime along with prosecutors who immediately ordered an investigation," he told Al-Nabaa television.

A Libyan MP said the British man had worked for an equipment maintenance company.

"The consul of the British embassy in Tripoli arrived Friday at Sabratha with the director of the equipment maintenance company that employed the British man shot dead with the New Zealand woman accompanying him," Saleh Mitou told a private television station.

The bodies of the pair were in a hospital morgue in the town and would be handed over to British officials before being transferred to Tripoli.

The Mellitah area houses a major gas complex run by Mellitah Oil and Gas, a joint enterprise of Italy's ENI and Libya's state-owned National Oil Company, which exports natural gas to Italy through the Greenstream pipeline.

Libya has seen growing unrest following the overthrow of long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

The country is awash in weapons looted from the slain dictator's arsenals, and many former rebel brigades have refused to disarm or join the new security forces.

Last month a young American teacher was gunned down while on his morning jog in the restive eastern city of Benghazi, the cradle of the 2011 revolt which has since seen scores of attacks on security forces and foreign missions.





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