By BosNewsLife Africa Service
LIBYA, TRIPOLI (BosNewsLife)-- More than a dozen Christians remained missing Tuesday, January 20, more than two weeks after they were reportedly kidnapped in Libya by militants linked to the feared Islamic State group.
Local Christians said gunmen of the "Islamic State of Tripoli" group raided a housing complex in the coastal city of Sirte January 3, kidnapping 13 believers.
They were specifically selected because of their Christian faith in what was the third such attack against Egyptian believers within two weeks, rights activists said.
"The feeling of depression and worry and sadness is indescribable," one of the missing men's relatives said in published remarks. " But if it's God's will for them to be martyrs for the name of Christ like the apostles, (serving as) a witness to the kidnappers, we pray God will provide grace, peace and acceptance of His will."
Previously, on December 30, some seven Christians were kidnapped as they attempted to drive back to Egypt on the road that passes through Sirte, Christians said.
A week earlier, on December 23, a Christian couple had been shot and killed at their home in the city; their teenage daughter was kidnapped and later murdered, several sources said at the time.
"Libya has increasingly become lawless as rival militias vie for power. In particular, the city of Sirte is renowned as a stronghold for these Islamic militant groups," commented advocacy group Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC).
Christians are concerned about militants ties to Islamic State, which has been forcing hundreds of thousands of Christians and other groups to flee their homes in Iraq and Syria.
VOMC said it had urged supporters to pray that more people, including militants, will "turn to faith in Christ"and that for the "many believers who have been kidnapped" or are "mourning the loss of the brutally murdered Christians".