Nine oil workers who have been seized in Libya by militants allied to Islamic State work for an oil services company based in Qormi, Times of Malta has learnt.

The workers, from Austria, the Czech Republic, the Philippines, Bangladesh and an unspecified African country, were kidnapped by a group of militants at the al-Ghani oilfield on Friday.

They worked for the Value Added Oilfield Services (VAOS), which is based in Mill Street, Qormi.

Their abduction has been confirmed by the Austrian foreign ministry which this morning cited "secure information". The ministry said they were alive when taken.

"We know that they were not injured when they were transported away from the al-Ghani oilfield," an Austrian ministry spokesman said, adding that the group was taken by Islamic State militants.

Answering questions by Times of Malta, a company spokesman confirmed that the employees had been taken by Libyan militias, adding that none of the employees had died or were harmed during the abduction.

“What we can assure you is that we are doing everything in our power to establish the whereabouts of those missing,” the spokesman said.

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