A file photo of members of the Libyan army. —Reuters Photo

TRIPOLI: Libya’s deputy prime minister says pro-government militiamen are suspected of having raped three British female activists of Pakistani origin in the eastern city of Benghazi, the Associated Press reported Friday.

According to the report, Libya's deupty PM Awsad al-Barassi said the women were part of an overland aid convoy bound for Gaza. They were traveling with two male companions when they were kidnapped Tuesday on their way to the Benghazi airport after deciding return to Britain.

According to another report by news agency AFP, two British women of Pakistani origin were accompanied by their father.

The women “were brutally raped in front of their father,” Awadh al-Barassi said on his Facebook page, condemning the “horrible act,” reported AFP.

Al-Barassi told Libya al-Hurra TV late Thursday that he has met with the women and they are in “very bad shape.” Barassi also said the family was “in a very bad psychological state.”

Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry condemned the incident and said Islamabad is in contact with Libyan authorities.

Britain’s Foreign Office said it is aware of an incident involving British nationals who were part of an aid convoy. It did not elaborate.

The women, accompanied by their father, were with the convoy destined for the Palestinian coastal enclave blockaded by Israel when it was blocked from leaving Libya and entering Egypt.

The three decided to return to Benghazi accompanied by two more Britons, with the aim of getting a flight home. But when they arrived in Libya’s second city they were abducted by five unidentified men.

A Western diplomatic source speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed the group had been abducted, but was unable to say the women had been sexually assaulted, pending medical reports.

The diplomatic source also said there had been arrests in the case, without specifying how many.


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