Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Filipinos returning home amid Libya violence

31 July 2014, 17:36

Tripoli - The Philippines was preparing on Thursday to evacuate 13 000 citizens from Libya as violence raged and after a Filipino worker was beheaded and a nurse was gang-raped there.

Greece is also sending a warship to evacuate some of its citizens as well as people from other countries.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario was heading to neighbouring Tunisia to organise an evacuation as fighting resumed between militias seeking to control the Libyan capital's crippled international airport.

Del Rosario said he was repeating a 2011 mission that evacuated thousands of Filipino workers during the uprising that toppled Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

"Our major challenge, as in 2011, is to convince our folks that they must leave Libya at the soonest time to avoid the perils of a highly exacerbating situation there," he told reporters in Manila.

The Philippines ordered an evacuation on 20 July, hours after the discovery in the eastern city of Benghazi of the beheaded remains of a Filipino construction worker who had been abducted.

Manila also imposed a travel ban to the North African country, which has been plagued by violence since Gaddafi's overthrow.

On Wednesday, a Filipina nurse was abducted by a gang of youths outside her residence in Tripoli and gang-raped before being released two hours later, the foreign department said.

Despite the dangers, del Rosario said many of the Filipinos, mostly employed in construction and hospitals, are refusing to leave because they would be unemployed back home.

Only a few more than 700 had left Libya by Wednesday, despite the rapidly deteriorating situation, as warring militias battle for control of key population centres.

Arrangements difficult

Del Rosario said he is flying to Tunisia's Djerba island to "try to convince our people to leave [Libya] because the situation there is very dangerous.

"We are in the process of engaging ships from Malta that would pick up our people from Benghazi, Misrata and hopefully Tripoli then return to Malta for air transport to Manila," he said.

While each vessel could carry up to 1 500 people, he said the government was still negotiating safe passage through these ports.

Failing that, the Filipinos would be bused to Tunisia, where flight arrangements would be made, he added.

In Athens, meanwhile, an official said a navy frigate was en route to Libya to evacuate some 200 people, including diplomatic staff.

These include around 70 Greeks, some 15 Cypriots and 80 Chinese, in addition to other nationalities.

"There are a lot of requests but capacity on the frigate is limited," the official said.

Del Rosario could not have flown in to Tripoli if he had wanted to, because the airport was knocked out of commission by fighting earlier this month.

Another round of clashes erupted on Thursday, airport security chief Al-Jilani al-Dahech told AFP, with attackers assaulting the facility using both small arms and heavy weapons.

Dahech said some of his men had been wounded, but gave no details.

Leave immediately

At least 100 people have reportedly been killed and 400 wounded since July 13 when the airport battle erupted.

Witnesses said there was also fighting on the road to the airport and in a western suburb of the capital on Thursday, while numerous explosions were heard in the city centre.

The Tripoli clashes, the most violent since Gaddafi's ousting, began with an assault on the airport by a coalition of groups, mainly Islamists, which has since been backed by fighters from third city Misrata.

The attackers are battling to flush out fellow former rebels from the hill town of Zintan, southwest of Tripoli, who have controlled the airport for the past three years.

The United States, Canada, France and Brazil have temporarily shuttered their embassies in Tripoli, while several Western countries and Egypt have advised their citizens to leave immediately.

Meanwhile, fire fighters were still battling a blaze at a fuel depot near the airport that broke out on Sunday when a rocket hit a storage tank.

More than 90 million litres of fuel are stored in the facility, which also houses a natural gas reservoir.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...