Diplomat urges Pinoys in restive Tripoli to come home

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 20 2019 07:47 PM

In this Wednesday, April 17, 2019, photo released by the DFA, a Filipino worker embraces a staff of the department as they are evacuated from Tripoli, Libya. On Saturday, a Philippine diplomat appealed to countrymen there to come home as civil unrest continues to grip the capital city. Department of Foreign Affairs via AP

MANILA—A Philippine diplomat on Saturday appealed to Filipinos in Tripoli to come home, as civil unrest continued to grip the Libyan capital.

In a statement, Elmer Cato, the country's diplomatic representative in Libya, said some Filipinos have opted to stay in Tripoli amid the battle for control of Tripoli.

"We understand they are here to provide for their families back home but the situation here is becoming increasingly dangerous for them," Cato said in a statement. "We are hoping the number of requests for repatriation would go up."

Cato said his office has received 22 requests for repatriation as of posting time, including 7 Filipinos who have been evacuated to Tunisia.

A Filipino was wounded on Tuesday in a rocket attack in a Tripoli neighborhood, where more than 200 Filipinos reside, according to Cato.

Mortars struck a hospital with 18 Filipinos in the outskirts where heavy fighting took place on Wednesday, while 6 Filipinos were trapped in fighting in another part of the city on Friday.

The Philippine government last week ordered a total ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Tripoli.

At least 205 people have been killed and more than 900 wounded in the battle, according to the World Health Organization.

Fighting broke out on April 4 when military strongman Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive to take Tripoli, seat of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

More than 25,000 people have been displaced by the clashes between GNA forces and Haftar's fighters south of Tripoli, including 4,500 over the previous 24 hours, the International Organization for Migration said.