Two Italians kidnapped last July in Libya returned to Italy on Sunday to a mute homecoming, amid questions over why two others snatched with them were killed.
Gino Pollicardo, center, and Filippo Calcagno, right, the two Italian hostages who were freed on Friday from Islamic State group custody in the western Libyan city of Sabratha, are welcomed by Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni as they arrive at Rome Ciampino’s airport, early Sunday, March 6, 2016. “They will be transferred to their country sometime soon”, he added.
The two were not available to speak to the press neither after their release, nor on their return to Italy. In a video posted on the municipality’s Facebook page, the pair were seen wearing tracksuits, with long beards and dishevelled hair.
The head of the municipal council in Sabratha, Hussein al Zawadi, on Friday said the two Italian hostages were killed in clashes between ISIS militants and troops loyal to Tripoli together with allied militia. Four Italians – the two freed hostages and the two found killed – were working for the Italian construction company Bonatti when they were kidnapped July 1 near an industrial complex owned by energy giant Eni in the western Libyan city of Mellitah.
Italian prosecutors, as is customary, are investigating the circumstances of the kidnappings and the deaths of the two Italians. Italian media reports said the four had been in an IS convoy that was attacked by militiamen from Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn), the armed wing of the non-recognised government based in Tripoli.
Libya plunged into a state of anarchy when former leader, Muammar Gaddafi was ousted by a NATO-supported military campaign in 2011. IS subsequently seized the centre of the city, only to be pushed back to its outskirts last week.