A view of the Mellitah oil and gas complex (Reuters)
A view of the Mellitah oil and gas complex  Reuters

A British man and a New Zealand woman have been found shot dead on a beach near the coastal area of Mellitah in western Libya.

According to Reuters, the two were killed near the coastal city of Sabratha, 100 kilometres west of Tripoli, where they were having a picnic. Their bodies were found in a remote part of a partially built beach resort, close to Mellitah Oil and Gas complex.

Sabratha Media Center Facebook page has a photo showing the man and woman, lying face down in the sand. A backpack and blanket with food and drinks strewn about, were lying near the bodies.

The police also found tire marks in the vicinity based on initial reports. A security source told Reuters that their luggage was intact and nothing was stolen, and the motive for the murders was unclear.

In an Associated Press report, the two were working as the teachers, in the oil and gas company premises.

A person working as control room operator at Mellitah Oil and Gas said the two were working there. The operator told APNZ that he did not have exact information about the nature of their work and the Kiwi woman and British man had only said "they have some jobs at Mellitah." He did not have any clue about why the two had been killed.

British Foreign Office spokeswoman and diplomats said they were aware of the deaths of two foreign nationals in Libya, and were seeking more information from authorities.

New Zealand's Foreign Ministry said they had received the report and were "working with the relevant authorities to confirm this".

The incidence comes a month after an American teacher was gunned down in Benghazi. In a separate incident, two Americans were reportedly detained by the Libyan army in their headquarters in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Mellitah Oil and Gas is a joint enterprise of Italy's ENI and Libya's state-owned National Oil Company.

Prior to the 2011 uprising to oust dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Libya's once-developed beaches thronged with foreigners.

Two years down the road, the central government struggles to keep the crime rates down and control rampant militia, many of which are Islamic hardliners.