Italy's Foreign Ministry says four Italians have been kidnapped in the western Libyan city of Mellitah. The North African country has descended into violence following the ouster of dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
The group was taken near the Mellitah port, which flanks an industrial complex owned by Italian oil giant, Eni
The ministry said that the four were employees of the Bonatti construction company, and that its crisis unit was "in constant contact with the families and the company."
Italy closed its embassy in Libya on February 15, and at the same time urged Italian citizens to leave the country over the escalating violence.
The OPEC country has plunged into chaos since the 2011 uprising that ended the rule of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Libya is divided between two governments battling for control of the country - an internationally recognized parliament in the eastern city of Tobruk and a self-styled government with Islamist backing operating from the capital, Tripoli.
The power vacuum left by Gadhafi's departure has also seen jihadist groups flourish in Libya, with both the "Islamic State" and al Qaeda managing to overrun several towns and gain a foothold there.
nm/kms (AP, AFP, Reuters)