Four Filipinos nabbed from Libyan oil field

Filipino government repatriated more than six dozen nationals before attack.

By Daniel J. Graeber

TRIPOLI, Libya, March 9 (UPI) -- The kidnapping of four Filipinos from an oil field in Libya came just one day after 77 nationals were repatriated in Manila, the government in Manila said.

Seven foreign workers were abducted and 11 guards were killed when militants raided the Ghani oil field in Libya. Fighters loyal to the group calling itself the Islamic State took credit for the Friday attack, the latest to stifle oil operations in Libya.


The Filipino government confirmed four of its nationals were among those seized, the Libya Herald reported Saturday. The confirmation came after the Filipino Foreign Ministry said 77 of its citizens were repatriated March 5 after they crossed the border into Tunisia.

"The Department of Foreign Affairs estimates that there remain approximately 4,000 Filipinos in Libya despite the call by the Philippine government for their mandatory evacuation as a result of the deteriorating security situation in that country," the government said in a statement last week.

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Foreign nationals have been the target of recent attacks claimed by members of the Islamic State. A video posted online by the group in mid-February reportedly shows the execution of dozens of Coptic Christians from Egypt who were working in Libya.


The Ghani oil field was operated by a joint venture between Canada's Suncor Energy and the Libyan-run National Oil Co. A Czech, Austrian and Bangladeshi were among the other workers abducted from the field.

Because of ongoing conflict, Libyan oil output is a fraction of its capacity before civil war erupted in 2011. Following the slaying of the Egyptians last month, the U.N. Support Mission in Libya said "the terrorists are the ones who benefit from the continuing fighting and divisions" in Libya.

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