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At least 40 Filipinos 'missing in Libya'

No one has heard from workers in Misurata for nearly a month, priest says

At least 40 Filipinos 'missing in Libya'
Migrante International calls on the Philippine government to look into the plight of Filipinos still in Libya (photo:
Julian Labores and D'Jay Lazaro, Manila

April 6, 2011

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At least 40 Filipino workers are missing in the war-torn Libyan city of Misurata , according to a Franciscan priest based in the Libyan capital. Father Allan Jose Arcebuche, assistant parish priest of San Francisco Catholic Church in Tripoli, said relatives and friends of the Filipinos say the last contact they had with any of them was on March 14. He said the missing include 25 professors, at least six workers from a steel company, eight workers at a milk-and-yogurt factory, and more than 10 nurses. The priest said he was worried because he heard some Filipinos have been used as human shields or were moved to other areas. Misurata has seen fierce fighting between Libyan government and rebel forces recently. A Philippine team sent to investigate the plight of Filipinos in the area reportedly failed to enter the city due to the fighting. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday confirmed that some nurses were trapped in Misurata. Migrante International, a Filipino overseas workers organization, urged the ministry to provide more information. Migrante chairman Garry Martinez, said they had received reports that the nurses were taken by rebel forces. He also said close to 4,000 Filipinos were trapped in Tripoli. Migrante estimates about 15,000 Filipinos are still in Libya. "We are very concerned. We demand that [Philippine authorities] immediately give an update on the status and well-being of Filipinos still in Libya," said Martinez. He said the Philippine government has the responsibility to inform the families and update the public. PM13877.1648

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