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Kiwi shot dead during Libya beach picnic

Published: 6:59AM Saturday January 04, 2014 Source: ONE News

A New Zealand woman and a British man shot dead in Libya appear to have been enjoying a picnic at the beach when they were attacked. 

The couple's bodies were found on a secluded beach near the city of Sabratha, 100 kilometres west of the capital, Tripoli.

What is believed to have been a romantic day out in one of the world's most dangerous countries, ended in tragedy on a beach.

Details remain sketchy, but ONE News understands the man and woman, who have not been officially named, were both in their forties.

In a photo, their bodies are lying in the sand beside what appears to be a picnic basket. The photo was too graphic to show in detail on ONE News.

The woman was visiting the British man who reportedly worked in Libya for oil giant Blue Energy.

The woman's family have asked for privacy and for no further details to be publicly released. But they have confirmed she normally lives in New Zealand and was visiting Libya.

'I would not go back'

Kiwi freelance journalist Yasmine Ryan has worked in Libya and says the situation in the war torn country is steadily deteriorating.

"I would not go back and most of the journalists I know who were working there have left," Ms Ryan told ONE News in a telephone interview from the Tunisian capital, Tunis.

Few foreigners remain in Libya following 2011's civil war and the deposing of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Armed groups now terrorise the country.

"I speak to people on the ground and I know a lot of people who are now desperately trying to leave who are in fear of their lives, who have been threatened for various reasons," Ms Ryan said.

American teacher Ronnie Smith was shot dead in Libya in December while out jogging. A year earlier, an attack on the US embassy in Benghazi killed four Americans, including the ambassador.

'Bring to justice the perpetrators'

Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office has urged Libyan authorities to do all they can to track down those responsible for the latest killings.

"We call upon the Libyan Government to carry out a thorough investigation in to this tragic incident and to continue to do all it can to bring to justice the perpetrators of this appalling crime, as it strives to build strong rule of law in Libya," a spokesperson said.

"We are deeply saddened by the murder of a British national and New Zealander in Libya.

"Police have informed their families and consular officials are providing full consular support in Libya and the UK. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time."

New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it will continue to work with the family of the slain woman.

Five New Zealanders are registered as being in Libya.

A warning was already in place against all non-essential travel there and the warning is even more relevant now.