Odisha man abucted by IS in Libya returns home

  • Priya Ranjan Sahu, Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
  • Updated: Oct 02, 2015 21:25 IST
Islamic State militants stand behind what are said to be Ethiopian Christians along a beach in Wilayat Barqa, in this still image from an undated video made available on a social media website. (Reuters File Photo)

Prabhas Ranjan Samal, who was abducted and subsequently released by IS in Libya, on Friday, reached Bhubaneswar.

“It’s a miracle that I have reached home. I am very happy. It is homecoming,” an overwhelmed Samal told reporters here after reaching here in a flight from New Delhi. From the airport he went to a relative’s place and plans to go to Rourkela where his elder brother and mothers are waiting for him.

Samal is from Hantapada village in Kendrapara district. He had been living in Libya for the past 13 years worked in a hospital as a bio-medical engineer in the conflict ridden city of Sirte, about 500 km away from capital Tripoli.

On the mid-night of September 6, IS extremists allegedly abducted Samal along with another Indian, Ramamurthy Kosanam from Andhra Pradesh and took them to an unidentified location by blindfolding them. Samal said both the abducted persons were kept separately and he did not have any idea where Kosanam was.

“I do not know who abducted me and why. I do not know about others, but the abductors did not misbehave or torture me. I did not fear about death, but was burdened by a state of uncertainty. After the first day of anxiety, I resigned myself to fate,” Samal said.

Not preferring to dwell on whether he escaped from captivity or was released by extremists, Samal said he could walk free with some local help on September 16. “During my 13 years of stay in Libya, I had sort of created a family over there. Locals risked their lives to secure my release,” he said.

He then went to Indian Embassy in Tripoli where officials helped him to go back to India.

After reaching India on Wednesday, Samal met national security advisor Ajit Doval. “Doval embraced me on seeing me and I was overwhelmed by his gesture. From him I knew that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other important people had taken steps to ensure my safety,” Samal said.

Samal has married a Filipino woman who works in another hospital in Tripoli, but is now in the US. They both have two sons who live in the Philippines with their maternal grandparents.

Samal’s elder brother Bibhupadarabinda Nayak said his mother was not informed about Samal’s abduction in view of her failing health, but was told about his safe release. “My son has got a rebirth. I will tell him not to go abroad again,” she said.

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