At least 17 Coptic Christians are reportedly missing in Libya's Tripoli neighborhood of Egyptians, and their disappearing is now stoking fears of possible abduction such as the one that occurred in 2015 in the hands of ISIS.

The Christian Post said the missing Egyptian Christians are thought to be taken by an armed group or detained by authorities because of their faith. The Christians have been reported missing since September 30. Now, fears have risen among the families and friends of the missing Christians that a similar incident of an ISIS abduction six years ago would transpire, although no one really knows who the abductors are.

The ISIS abduction years ago involved 21 Coptic Christians who went to Libya to work but ended up being beheaded. Two years later, in 2017, the government discovered their graves 280 miles east of Tripoli near the ISIS bastion in Sirte. The bodies were found separate from their heads with hands bound behind their backs.

The ISIS eventually claimed responsibility for the abduction and killings of the said 21 Coptic Christians. Their memory is remembered every February 15.

According to the International Christian Concern (ICC), an Egyptian lawyer who is a friend of one of those missing narrated what took place and his reason for worrying. The lawyer said his friend, Emad Nasr, was bound for Libya with a working visa but was not successful in getting employment. The lawyer said the last he has heard of his friend that they are staying in Libya's Gargash District, which is in Tripoli.

"Even now there (is) no confirmed news. (My friend) Emad Nasr and the other Copts traveled to Libya three months ago. They headed to the United Arab Emirates and then to Libya, because there are no direct airlines to Libya. The Copts had visas for Libya (labor visas), but they failed to get work opportunities and the costs of renewing the visas are high. So the police of Libya detained them from September 30 until now," the lawyers said.

"The Copts were staying in the Gargash District in Tripoli. In this residency, they were surrounded by so many persons of other countries like India and Bangladesh. So the action of detaining 17 Copts only is such a mysterious action! We are fearing of repeating an incident like the one who did by ISIS. We are contacting the Egyptian Foreign Ministry to intervene in the situation," he added.

On the other hand, one of the brother of those missing echoed the fears of the lawyer. The brother revealed that kidnapping has happened before in the neighborhood and that those abducted were not heard from anymore.

"It is unknown if they were detained by the Libyan authorities or were kidnapped by unknown parties...they lived in the Gargash neighborhood, in which dozens of Egyptians live. We learned from one of the residents there that a number of Egyptians were kidnapped in this neighborhood without knowing their fate," the brother said.

ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East Claire Evans explain that the root of such fears is that the memory of what the ISIS did in 2014 still remains fresh among the people.

"This is a frightening time for Egyptian Christians, regardless of whether their family or friends are among those missing. The memory of ISIS marching Coptic Christians down a Libyan beach to their deaths runs deep; it was an event that was traumatic for all of Egypt's Christians, an event that held serious implications for everyone," Evans said in a statement.

Evans called on authorities to investigate the matter and to do everything about the latest abduction so that those missing would be brought home alive and that those behind their abduction be brought to justice.