MANILA -- The Department of Foreign Affairs on Sunday said it has sought help from authorities in Iraq and Libya to secure the release of 5 Filipinos there who were snatched by armed men in 2 separate incidents.
Among the victims were 3 Filipino technicians in Libya who were abducted Friday by an unidentified group from a waterworks project some 500 kilometers from Tripoli, the DFA said in a statement.
The kidnappers also took another foreign worker and 4 Libyans, but later released them, the agency said.
Two Filipinas in Iraq, meanwhile, were also taken by armed men from their vehicle in a highway in Uzem district.
The victims were on their way to Baghdad with 2 other Filipinas, who later escaped their captors and are now in police custody, the DFA said.
“We are in touch with authorities in Iraq and Libya and have requested their assistance in locating and securing the release of our missing kababayan,” said Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
The DFA did not identify the missing Filipinos.
Roughly 3,000 Filipinos are working in Iraq, according to DFA records in 2017.
The Iraqi government has struggled to rein in Shi’ite militias believed to be behind several kidnappings.
Libya, meanwhile, has struggled against various armed groups including Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State, especially in remote desert areas.
Risks for foreign workers in Libya have been high since political splits and conflict resulted in a security vacuum in much of the country in the years following a 2011 uprising. -- With a report from Reuters