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Militants behead Pinoy construction worker in Libya

MANILA, Philippines - A Filipino worker in Libya was beheaded allegedly because he was not a Muslim.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose told reporters yesterday that suspected militiamen kidnapped the Filipino construction worker on July 15 and his beheaded remains were found in a hospital on July 20.

“The vehicle he was riding in was stopped at a checkpoint,” Jose said. “There were three of them – a Libyan, a Pakistani and a Filipino – and he was allegedly singled out because he was non-Muslim.”

Jose said the kidnappers had initially negotiated with the Filipino’s company for a $160,000 ransom.

“They (eventually) received a call from the abductors on July 20 (that) referred them to a Benghazi hospital,” he said.

Jose said the beheaded body was found in the hospital in an advanced state of decomposition.

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He might have been dead even while the negotiations were going on, he added.

Jose said the killing prompted the government on Sunday to order the estimated 13,000 Filipinos in Libya to leave.

“The threats to our Filipinos’ safety and security became more imminent. We would like to get them out of harm’s way because of this incident,” he said.

Filipinos can leave Libya by traveling by land to either Tunisia or Egypt, Jose said.

So far 207 Filipinos have registered for evacuation and will be brought back to Manila as soon as the Philippine embassy completes their travel requirements, Jose said.

At Malacañang, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. yesterday said the DFA has raised Alert Level 4 in Libya, meaning mandatory repatriation of Filipino citizens.

“The DFA reiterated its call for all remaining Filipinos in Libya to return home immediately, considering that it is no longer safe to remain in Libya,” he said.

Coloma said the DFA has sent a Rapid Response Team, as well as an augmentation team to Libya to assist the Philippine embassy in Tripoli in the repatriation.

“According to the DFA, it has also set up a 24-hour hotline for families of OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) in Libya,” he said.

Coloma said those with questions and concerns about the condition of their relatives in Libya could call hotline numbers (02) 552-7105 or (02) 834-4685. With Aurea Calica, Mayen Jaymalin

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