Philippines to ferry workers out of Libya after savage attack on nurse

Manila issues mandatory evacuation order for its expatriate workers after nurse is abducted and gang-raped.

MANILA // The Philippines is to charter ferries to expedite the removal of 13,000 Filipinos from Libya after the abduction and gang rape of a Filipina nurse there.

The foreign ministry yesterday confirmed the sexual assault of the woman in Tripoli on Wednesday.

The crime occurred 10 days after the beheaded remains of a Filipino construction worker who had been abducted were found at a hospital in the port of Benghazi.

“We condemn these crimes that have been committed against our people,” said a spokesman for the president, Benigno Aquino.

The woman was seized outside her residence and taken to an unknown location, where she was sexually assaulted by up to six youths.

She was released about two hours later and a Filipino consular team took her to hospital for treatment.

The Philippines ordered all 13,000 of its citizens to leave Libya after the beheading, with a consular team organising their relocation by land to neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt.

However, only slightly more than 700 Filipinos had left Libya by Wednesday, according to a foreign ministry tally. That was despite the rapidly deteriorating situation, with warring militias battling for control of key population centres.

The Philippines has also barred its nationals from travelling to Libya.

The government had also repatriated thousands of its nationals from Libya during the uprising that toppled Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.

Some boarded ferries that took them to Malta where they later caught flights back to the Philippines. Many of them later returned to their jobs there.

“Just like what we did before, the department of foreign affairs has hired ships to ferry and evacuate Filipinos,” said Mr Aquino’s spokesman.

“We reiterate our appeal to those Filipinos still in Libya to comply with the mandatory evacuation.”

The Philippine foreign department said it could not reveal how many vessels would be chartered, which port would the Filipinos be taken to and where they would be offloaded. But it said it was “working on it”.

Meanwhile, the European Union said yesterday that it had moved its staff in Libya to Tunisia in view of the situation, and Greece has sent a navy frigate to the country to repatriate embassy staff and dozens of its nationals.

* Agence France-Presse

Published: July 31, 2014 04:00 AM


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