Italy says its citizen kidnapped in Libya, needs medical help

ROME, March 23 Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:43am EDT

ROME, March 23 (Reuters) - An Italian man has been kidnapped near the eastern city of Tobruk and there has been no communication from his kidnappers as yet, said the Italian Foreign Ministry on Sunday, adding he was a diabetic who did not have his insulin supplies with him.

A spokesman for the Italian Foreign Ministry said Gianluca Salviato was kidnapped on Saturday by a gang it suspected of being a criminal organisation intending to seek a ransom, rather than an Islamist group.

"The fact that he is a diabetic adds a sense of urgency to the situation because his life is in danger," the spokesman told Reuters on Sunday.

The search began for Salviato when he failed to arrive at the construction site of a sewer project his company, Enrico Ravanelli SpA, began in October 2012.

His car was later found with the keys in it, and his medical kit sitting on the passenger seat.

The weak central government in Tripoli wields little influence over the eastern part of the country, where well-armed militias have taken root since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi three years ago.

Italy's Foreign Ministry has issued several warnings for its citizens not to travel to that part of the country, where Libya's government troops on Saturday fought rebels occupying eastern oil ports. (Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Sophie Hares)