Libyan security forces say Filipino workers have recently been abducted from the southern Al-Ghani oilfield
Libyan security forces say Filipino workers have recently been abducted from the southern Al-Ghani oilfield © - AFP/File
Libyan security forces say Filipino workers have recently been abducted from the southern Al-Ghani oilfield
AFP
Last updated: March 18, 2015

Philippines denies report IS seized four citizens in Libya

The Philippines said Tuesday a media report that the Islamic State group had abducted four Filipino medical workers in the Libyan city of Sirte was wrong.

One report cited members of a rival militia saying four nurses from the Philippines were abducted from Ibn Sina hospital on Monday, while another said about 20 medical workers, including Filipinos, were abducted at the same hospital.

"The report about four Filipino nurses being abducted in Sirte are false," foreign department spokesman Charles Jose told reporters.

Jose said the Philippine embassy in Libya has been in touch with one of the four Filipino nurses, who informed the mission they had been safely evacuated from Sirte.

"The four Filipinos were not actually kidnapped. They were actually taken from their accommodations to a safer place," he said.

The four were moved elsewhere by a "local friend", he said, declining to comment on reports that a militia group battling the Islamic State group had escorted several medical workers out of Sirte.

Jose, meanwhile, said there was still no news on the whereabouts or condition of seven other Filipinos abducted in Libya this year.

Four Filipino workers were among nine foreigners abducted from the southern Libyan oilfield of Al-Ghani this month, while three Filipino workers were seized in the Al-Mabruk oilfield in early February.

"No one has claimed responsibility for the abductions, so we do not really know who to negotiate with. There are many armed groups in Libya but we do not know which one to speak to," he said.

Jose said the Philippines has evacuated more than 4,200 Filipinos from Libya since July last year.

However about 4,000 others have remained, lured by high salaries.

Jose said 30 medical workers remained in Sirte.

Filipino medical workers make up the backbone of Libya's hospital staff and are being offered financial incentives to stay, the Philippine government said earlier.

Libya has been wracked by conflict for the past four years, with rival governments and powerful militias now battling for control of key cities and the country's oil riches.

About 10 percent of Filipinos work overseas, attracted by higher salaries than they can earn at home. Their remittances are a major pillar supporting the country's economy.

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