Lynn Howie. Photo Facebook
Four people have reportedly been arrested in connection
with the execution-style killings of New Zealander Lynn Howie
and Briton Mark De Salis in Libya on Thursday.
The two were apparently killed by gunshots to the back of the
head near the city of Sabratha.
Local news source Libya Alhurra reported that four people
have been arrested in connection with the killings.
The report could not be corroborated and New Zealand's
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) said it was not
aware of any arrests but would be looking into it.
MFAT has been scrambling to remove a photograph circulating
online purporting to show the bodies lying on the beach next
to what appears to be a picnic blanket.
A spokesman said this would be highly distressing to the
"An investigation by the Libyan Authorities into the deaths
is underway and we will be following this closely on behalf
of the family,'' MFAT said in a statement.
"We are grateful for the support from British Embassy staff
in Libya who have provided assistance and we will continue to
work closely with them.''
Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement
it was deeply saddened by the "murder'' of the two.
"Our Charg d'Affaires has raised the shooting with the Libyan
authorities and we are liaising closely with them on
follow-up. 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.''
According to her LinkedIn profile, Ms Howie, 46, was a
regional public health protection officer working in
Wellington and Wairarapa.
The same website said she had previously worked with St John
Ambulance, the Ministry of Health and Wellington Free
She had previously studied at Britain's Birmingham
University, doing a Master of Science in Environmental Health
Early today Mr De Salis' family released a statement in the
UK saying they were "shocked and devastated''. They said the
New Zealand woman was his "close friend'' and "our thoughts
are with her family at this sad time. He will be sadly missed
by his family and friends.''
Dianne Alpers, a New Zealander living in Libya, said local
word was that it was a case of a "wrong place, wrong time
"Rules are, you don't go out after dark or travel alone to
isolated places east or west of Tripoli.''
For the 20 or more New Zealanders who lived or had visited
Libya over the last five years or so, the benefits there were
"Drenched in sunshine ... 360 days a year, Roman Ruins
(Leptis magna, Sabratha), Exotic experiences - local
hospitality - weddings, cuisine (Libyan soup, baby camel and
cous cous aljarra-style); Mediterranean diet, The Medina (old
city), date palms, citrus and olive groves...and a minimal
cost of living.
"Libya's one of the few places I can work full time at 65,
and despite having to forfeit my NZ pension, it's worth it.
I've told my family if I'm killed in the desert, at least
I'll die warm... and there's no need to cart me back to NZ.''
It is understood Ms Howie was a visitor and not working
there. Mr De Salis' family said he had been working in
Tripoli for six years for First Engineering as a power
manager, bringing generators to the city to provide
"Mark enjoyed his work in Tripoli and liked the Libyan
people. Mark had travelled extensively. He was a decent and
incredibly loyal man and he was loved by many,'' the
MFAT has issued an official warning against travel to Libya
due to the extreme risk of terrorism and kidnapping. Five New
Zealanders are registered as being in Libya.