Briton shot dead in Libya named as Mark De Salis

Mark De Salis Image copyright FCO
Image caption Mark De Salis had been working in Tripoli for six years

A Briton who was shot dead in Libya has been named by the UK Foreign Office as energy worker Mark De Salis.

Mr De Salis's family said they were shocked and devastated by his killing.

The bodies of Mr De Salis, who had worked in Tripoli for six years, and a woman from New Zealand were discovered by security forces near a gas and oil facility on Thursday.

The pair, described by his family as close friends, were found on a beach near the coastal area of Mellitah.

In a statement issued through the Foreign Office, Mr De Salis's family said he had been working as a power manager for First Engineering, bringing generators to Tripoli to provide electricity.

'Loyal man'

"Mark enjoyed his work in Tripoli and liked the Libyan people," his family said.

"Mark enjoyed travelling and had travelled extensively. He was a decent and incredibly loyal man and he was loved by many. He will be sadly missed by his family and friends."

The family said their thoughts were with the family of Mr De Salis's friend.

"We would ask that our privacy is respected at this time," they added.

Mellitah is near the town of Zuwarah, 60 miles (100km) west of Tripoli.

The area is home to a large oil and gas complex co-owned by Italian company ENI.

The UK government has called on Libyan authorities to investigate the "murder" of Mr De Salis and his friend.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The area is home to a large oil and gas complex co-owned by Italian company ENI

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "Our charge d'affaires has raised the shooting with the Libyan authorities and we are liaising closely with them on follow-up."

'High threat'

A statement from the New Zealand Foreign Ministry said: "The exact circumstance of their deaths is not yet clear and will be subject to an investigation by the Libyan authorities.

"The deceased New Zealander was normally resident in New Zealand and was visiting Libya. The family of the New Zealander have requested privacy and asked that no further details be released publicly."

The killings came a month after a US teacher was shot dead while out for a run in the eastern city of Benghazi, after which the Foreign Office said further attacks against Westerners were likely and could be opportunistic.

A week ago, four American military personnel were briefly detained not far from Mellitah.

The New York Times reported that they were working on potential evacuation plans for American government employees.

Nearly two years after the overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the country is still suffering lawlessness as rival militias struggle for power and wealth.

The Foreign Office advises against all travel to most parts of Libya and against all but essential travel to coastal areas to the west and east.

It warns of a "high threat from terrorism including kidnapping".

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