The four Filipino nurses working at Ibn Sina Hospital in Sirte, Libya who were earlier reported to have been kidnapped by ISIS-affiliated Libyan terror group were in fact in a safe place and were not abducted.
Earlier, an official of a militia fighting the jihadists told media outfits that 20 foreign medical crew of the hospital, including the four Filipino nurses, were taken by the militants.
The militia official believed the medical crew were abducted by the Islamic extremists to prevent them from leaving the city as they are the only medical team who can treat their group’s wounded and injured.
In a press briefing, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose belied the reported abduction of the four nurses. He branded the report as false.
The four Filipino nurses were actually taken from their accommodation to a safer place by their Libyan friend, who was concerned for their safety, Jose said. The Philippine Embassy in Tripoli confirmed the safety of the health workers.
“The four were actually not kidnapped. They were taken from their accommodation to a safer place. Our embassy was able to talk to one of them and they said they are safe so the report is false,” the DFA spokesman said, adding “We got this confirmation from the embassy before noon today.”
The DFA continues to call on all overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who are still in Libya to avail of the repatriation offer by the Philippine government.
There are still at least 4,000 Filipinos who remain in the war-torn country. Since Alert level 4 was raised on Libya last year, the highest security warning given by the Philippines on countries that pose security risks to Filipino travelers and migrant workers due to armed conflict or disaster, the DFA have been able to repatriate 4,233 OFW’s.
Meanwhile, the whereabouts of the seven Filipinos being held by members of ISIS affiliate group are still unknown.
“Hindi pa rin natin alam ang kinalalagyan at kundisyon nila. (We still don’t know their location and condition) The embassy is still exerting all efforts to locate their whereabouts,” Jose said.