Belgrade, Feb 20 (IANS) The two Serbian embassy employees kidnapped last November in Libya were most probably killed during the US airstrikes against the Islamic State, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Saturday.
Dacic said the ministry received photos that confirmed their identity with a high level of certainty, although the victims were not officially identified and Serbia was waiting for an official confirmation by Libyan authorities, Xinhua reported.
Sladjana Stankovic and Jovica Stepic were kidnapped while travelling to Tunisia on November 8, 2015 and were taken near the town of Sabratha by unidentified gunmen, who negotiated a ransom with their families in Serbia.
“Information (that they were killed) has still not been confirmed by Libyan authorities, but we received photos that clearly point out that the information is likely correct,” Dacic said, adding that the ministry got the information about the event on Friday.
The families of the kidnapped employees were immediately notified and transport of their bodies and funeral in Serbia will be organised shortly after their identities are confirmed.
Dacic said Serbia was not notified about the US operation and announced that the country will ask for an explanation from the US and Libyan authorities concerning the information on locations and targets they had prior to the airstrikes.
He explained that the target was an alleged training camp suspected to be a property of the Islamic State; however foreign citizens were also kept there.
He said that Serbian intelligence forces knew about the location of the building, and that Serbian authorities cooperated and negotiated with local authorities that were waiting for the right time to organise a rescue operation at the camp.
Dacic said that kidnappers had an exclusively financial motive and the two employees would not have been killed if it were not for the airstrikes.