Indian killed in accident in Libya, 2 injured

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

NEW DELHI/CHENNAI - An Indian was killed and two others were injured in Libya in a road accident last week, the Indian embassy in Tripoli said Tuesday, while stressing that the death was not due to due to gunfire in the wake of ongoing anti-government protests.

“During the night of Saturday, Feb 19, a group comprising of three Indians and two Egyptians was trying to cross over to Egypt by car from Tobruk (city in northeastern Libya). Their car met with a head on collision resulting in all three Indians receiving serious injuries,” the Indian embassy in Libya conveyed to the external affairs ministry here.

“They were admitted to Al Vatnam Medical Centre in Tobruk. A number of Indian nurses are presently also working at the Centre,” the embassy said.

Murugaiah, a contract worker from Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district, reportedly succumbed to his injuries Monday.

The other Indian nationals are still in the hospital and recuperating, the Indian embassy said, adding that it was in regular touch with the centre.

The story of Murugaiah’s death being a result of firing appears to be incorrect, the embassy said while alluding to some media reports.

However, Murugiah’s widow, M. Vellathai said Murugaiah, 42, was killed and his colleague, Ashok Kumar, seriously injured when their residential camp caught fire due to firing between pro-democracy protesters and security forces.

Tirunelveli District Collector M. Jayaraman told IANS that Murugiah was part of 31 people from Thalaivankottai village on a two-year contract to erect power towers in Libya for South Korea’s Hyundai company.

“I got a petition from a woman accompanied with the village leader in this connection today (Tuesday). I have asked the village leaders to give me a list of 31 people hailing from their village working in Libya along with their passport numbers. On receipt of these details, we can approach our embassy in Libya to ensure safety of our people there,” he said.

A sobbing Vellathai told reporters that the workers were allowed four days’ annual leave and they were supposed to come this month-end.

India’s ambassador to Libya Manimekalai told CNN-IBN that the government will help in bringing back the body of the deceased, but added that certain procedures will have to be followed. She denied reports of Indians being trapped in a mosque in Libya.

As many as 61 people were killed in Libya’s capital Tripoli Monday, said witnesses. The toll, which the US-based Human Rights Watch group earlier put at 233, has now reportedly risen over 300.

Protests in the oil-rich country began Feb 14, but quickly gathered pace following a crackdown over a “Day of Rage” Feb 17. Demonstrators are said to have seized control of Benghazi city and several towns.

The unrest in Libya took a dramatic turn Monday when a huge anti-government march in Tripoli came under attack by security forces using fighter jets and live ammunition, witnesses told Al Jazeera.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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