Filipino government attempts to evacuate thousands as Libya descends into chaos
Rival militias have nearly destroyed the airport in Tripoli. (AFP/File)
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The Philippines has called on its nationals to leave Libya following reports that a female Filipino nurse was abducted and gang-raped in the capital, Tripoli.
In an advisory issued on Thursday, the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) urged all its 13,000 nationals in Libya to leave the North African country.
The warning came a day after the ministry confirmed reports that a Filipino nurse had been abducted and raped by six men. DFA spokesman Charles Jose told reporters that the woman was abducted by six Libyan youth in front of her residence in Tripoli on Wednesday morning and that she was taken to an unknown location, where she was sexually abused.
Jose said the nurse was released after two hours and that a Filipino consular team took her to a hospital for a medical check-up. She is currently under the care of the Embassy, he added.
“We reiterate our call to our remaining nationals in Libya to immediately get in touch with the Philippine embassy in Tripoli and register for repatriation,” the DFA’s Thursday advisory said.
The department also said a consular team in Tripoli will help the evacuation of Filipinos by land to Tunisia and Egypt, from where they will eventually be flown home.
This is the second time the Philippines orders its nationals to leave Libya. The country’s foreign department issued the same warning on July 20 following the beheading of a Filipino construction worker in Benghazi.
Since the 2011 revolution, Libya has been the scene of attacks and political assassinations amid a power struggle among several militia groups that fought against longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi during the uprising. The former rebels refuse to lay down their arms despite efforts by the central government to impose law and order.