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DFA: 4 Pinay nurses in Libya safe, not kidnapped

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Four Filipino nurses reported kidnapped from a Libyan hospital by militants from an Islamic State (IS) affiliate group were actually taken to a safe place by a friend.

The Philippine embassy in Tripoli got in touch with one of the nurses, who said they were all safe, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose said yesterday.

An official of a militia battling the IS affiliate had reported the kidnappings in the Libyan city of Sirte on Monday.

Jose, however, said “a local friend who was concerned for their safety” had taken the nurses from their accommodation to a “safer place.”

“Our embassy in Tripoli verified this information and the four Filipinos were not actually kidnapped,” Jose told reporters.

“Our charge d’affaires from our embassy has actually talked to one of them and they said they are safe,” he said.

An official from the 166 Battalion, which is battling the IS affiliate, had said the kidnappings took place Monday afternoon at Sirte’s main hospital, Ibn Sina. He said his battalion helped evacuate the remaining foreign medical crew in the hospital to the Libyan city of Misrata, where the battalion is based.

Oil field workers

Meanwhile, Jose said there was no word about the fate of seven Filipino oil field workers kidnapped recently in Libya.

He said the Philippine embassy was still trying to determine the whereabouts of the workers. No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and the workers’ employers have not received any ransom demand, he said.

On March 6, armed men attacked the Al Ghani oil field and seized nine foreigners including four Filipinos, two Bangladeshis, a Ghanaian, a Czech national and an Austrian after the armed men killed Libyan guards.

The four Filipinos were taken more than a month after three Filipinos were seized from the Mabrouk oil field on Feb. 3.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and the ambassadors of the three countries whose citizens were snatched together with the Filipinos have created a crisis team to facilitate the search for their missing citizens. He met with them during his visit to Tunisia on March 12 and 13 to oversee the implementation of the government’s repatriation program.

– With AP, Sheila Crisostomo, Jose Rodel Clapano

AL GHANI

CHARLES JOSE

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY ALBERT

FOUR FILIPINO

IBN SINA

ISLAMIC STATE

JOSE RODEL CLAPANO

ON MARCH

SHEILA CRISOSTOMO

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