Libya (Morningstar News/ODM/MNN) — Remember those three Christians we told you about last week that were kidnapped by ISIS in Libya?
Morningstar News is filling in more details. What follows is part of a recent report describing one of the kidnapped men and his family’s reaction to the crime.
Bakhit Nageh Efrank Ebeid, 21, was traveling on July 10 in a 14-seat van from Alexandria, Egypt, to Tripoli with a group of men–most of them Muslims from his hometown of Kom Badar–when IS militants stopped them in Sirte, Libya, according to Ezz Tawfik, a Coptic activist and journalist in Upper Egypt. Two other Christians, Adeola Ibrahim from Nigeria and Sekyere Kofi Frimpong from Ghana, were also in the van.
“ISIS soldiers were there to search their car and check their passports,” said Tawfik, who is in close contact with the victim’s family. “They took all their passports, and saw his, and asked if he was a Christian, and he said, ‘Yes.’ So they asked him to stand aside and released the Muslims who were in the same van.”
The other two Christians were also taken captive.
Later that day, some of those who were released called members of Ebeid’s family, who live in Tripoli, and reported the kidnapping.
“His relatives didn’t know what to do, especially because his mother is sick, and such news might kill her; so they didn’t tell his family in Egypt,” Tawfik said.
After IS announced the kidnapping, the family in Egypt became aware of the truth.
Relatives decided to call Ebeid’s cell phone, but to their horror, an IS militant told them that they had beheaded the “infidel.” But in a subsequent call, the militants changed their story and told the family that Ebeid had to pay the Jizya tax on non-Muslims as ransom, convert to Islam, or be killed.
When his family said they would pay the Jizya and asked how much it would be, they were told an amount was being decided, and then the phone connection went dead, according to family members.
Despite several attempts, all subsequent efforts to contact the militants though the cell phone and determine a ransom amount were unsuccessful, according to Romany Nageh, Ebeid’s brother.
“His phone is still working, but we were told [by authorities] not to call much because that might hurt him,” Nageh said. “But our relatives who live in Tripoli call the phone, and every time somebody answers, they make fun of them and hang up.”
The last time the family heard from Ebeid was on July 10, just before he crossed into Libya.
“He did call his family on that day, when he was on his way to Libya and told his family that he was on his way, and that he is going with a group and it would be safe,” Tawfik said.
No information has been publically available about the other two Christians taken captive.
Untrue and often contradictory reporting in Egyptian media about Ebeid’s condition has exacerbated the family’s dread, Tawfik said. Several times in the past few days, some news outlets reported that a ransom amount had been set for Ebeid’s release, while others simultaneously stated that he had been killed.
Family members said they have now turned to God, hoping that somehow against the multitude of conflicting reports, Ebeid is still alive and will survive the ordeal.
“We put the whole situation in front of God, and after Him the authorities, the ministry of foreign affairs, and those who are in power,” Ebeid’s brother said.
You and believers around the world can stand together in prayer for these guys. Join Open Doors USA’s “One With Them” initiative here.
By joining Open Doors’ cause, you can stay connected with the latest updates on persecuted believers around the world. You’ll also find the stories of persecuted believers, and free resources to get your church or small group “plugged in” to the Persecuted Church.