Kiwi, Briton found dead in Libya

Last updated 10:54 03/01/2014

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A New Zealand teacher and a British man have been found dead with gunshot wounds in western Libya, security sources say.

''Their bodies were found near the coastal area of Mellitah,'' one source said, referring to a large oil and gas complex co-owned by Italy's ENI and a residential area near the town of Zuwarah and 100 km west of Tripoli.

They were teachers in the capital Tripoli, a Libyan official said.

They were reportedly found next to their luggage outside. Their belongings were not stolen and the motive for their killing was unclear, an official said.

The discovery comes less than a month after an American teacher was killed in the eastern city of Benghazi. The attackers have not been identified.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was aware of reports that a New Zealander may have been killed in Libya but had not confirmed it.

"We are working with the relevant authorities to confirm this," a spokesperson said.

"The bodies have not yet been formally identified and the next of kin have not yet been informed."

A British Foreign Office spokesman told the BBC: "We are aware of reports that the bodies of two foreign nationals have been found in Libya and urgently seeking further information from the authorities." 

The security situation has deteriorated in recent months in the North African country where the government is struggling to rein in militias and tribesmen who helped oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and kept their guns.

In a separate incident, two Americans were being held by the Libyan army at its headquarters in the eastern city of Benghazi, several security and army sources told Reuters.

Both were basketball players and were arrested on the campus of Benghazi University, one security source said.

''They were arrested by university guards and then brought by special forces to the army barracks,'' an army source said.

The State Department and Britain's Foreign Office both said they were looking into the matter.Last Friday, four American military personnel were detained by the Libyan government and released after several hours in custody, US and Libyan officials said.

- Agencies/Fairfax NZ

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