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29 March, 2013
'British Women In Aid Convoy Raped In Libya'
'British Women In Aid Convoy Raped In Libya' A number of women in an aid convoy are said to be in "very bad shape" after allegedly being attacked by pro-government militiamen. 5:41pm UK, Friday 29 March 2013
Video: The women were attacked in Benghazi, Libya's deputy prime minister saidEnlarge
At least two British women travelling in an aid convoy have been raped after being kidnapped in Benghazi, according to reports.
Libyan authorities said two women, who are originally from Pakistan, were travelling with two men on their way to the airport when they were snatched, reportedly by pro-government militiamen. Other reports said three women had been attacked.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Awad al Barassi, has visited the women in hospital and said that they were in "very bad shape" following the ordeal on Tuesday.
The women had been travelling with other activists as part of a convoy heading towards Gaza.
The organisation responsible for the mission negotiated with the kidnappers for the group's release.
Mr al Barassi said the women were abducted by a taxi driver and a group of men in military uniforms, then attacked and robbed.
Demonstrations continue two years after the uprising (December 2012)
He said that those responsible would be brought to justice and apologised to the women and their families in an interview on Libyan TV.
Britain's Foreign Office said: "We are aware of an incident in Libya involving a number of British nationals who were part of an aid convoy. We are providing consular assistance."
Pakistani Foreign Ministry Aizaz Ahmad Chaudry said the Pakistani embassy in Libya had lodged a strong protest with Libyan authorities.
He said: "A heinous crime has been committed against these female activists."
Since the 2011 uprising that ended with the death of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has been struggling to build a unified army and police force amid increasingly powerful militias.The government depends on some of the militias to fill the security vacuum.
The attack is the latest in a series of violent assaults on aid agencies and diplomatic missions in the regions that have rendered Benghazi a no-go zone for most foreigners.
US ambassador Chris Stevens died in a September attack on the US consulate
In June, two British bodyguards were injured in an attack on a convoy carrying the British ambassador to Libya.
The Foreign Office (FCO) has advised against all travel to much of Libya, and all but essential travel to Tripoli and a handful of other towns.
In January, it urged Britons to leave Benghazi after it became aware of a "specific and imminent threat"