Four Filipino nurses were reportedly kidnapped from a hospital in Sirte, Libya.
The alleged abduction was done in broad daylight by armed men believed to be members of Islamic State affiliate in Libya.
An official of 166 Battalion, a militia which is fighting the ISIS affiliate, told a media outfit that the Filipino nurses were taken by the militants in the afternoon from Ibn Sina, Sirte’s main hospital. The official who declined to be identified because he is not authorized to speak to the press said his battalion assisted in the evacuation of the remaining foreign medical crew of the hospital.
Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary and spokesman Charles Jose said the Philippine Embassy in Libya has been asked to verify the incident so the Philippine government can take the necessary steps to deal with the difficult situation.
If confirmed, the abduction of the four nurses brings the number of Filipinos taken by ISIS affiliate in Libya to eleven. Seven others were seized by the same group during raids in two different oil fields south of Sirte in recent weeks.
On February 3, three Filipino workers were kidnapped by militants during a raid in Mabruk oil field and on March 6, four more Filipinos working for Value Added Oil Field Services, an Austrian company based in Tripoli that offers construction services to oil companies, were nabbed by the militants. The whereabouts of the a******d overseas Filipino workers (OFW) are still unknown.
About 4,000 Filipinos are still in Libya despite a mandatory repatriation order from the government. Total deployment ban and mandatory repatriation order of OFWs have been issued since July last year due to the escalating violence in the North African nation.
Many OFWs chose to remain in the strife-torn country for economic reasons. They are attracted by high pay which they cannot expect to receive in the Philippines.