Employer Working on Safe Release of 4 Abducted Filipino Workers in Libya

(Updated 7:16 p.m.) The employer of the four Filipino oil workers recently abducted in strife-torn Libya has vowed to do everything it can to locate them and work for their safe release.

“What we can assure you is that we are doing everything in our power to establish the whereabouts of those missing and to have them returned safely,” said Value Added Oilfield Services (VAOS) Ltd. in a statement Wednesday.

The four Filipinos were seized from the Al-Ghani oil field, along with two Bangladeshis, one from Ghana, a Czech national and an Austrian, after the facility was attacked by heavily armed men last Friday.

In an interview on GMA News TV’s “Quick Response Team” on Wednesday, DFA Spokesperson Charles Jose said the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli is doing its part in trying to locate the abducted Filipinos.

“Lahat po ng network of contacts po ng embassy ginagamit ho nila, kahit mga informal channels ay ginagamit po nila para makakuha ng kahit maliit na lead para malaman natin ang kalagayan ng ating mga kababayan,” Jose said.

The latest abduction came more than a month after the kidnapping of three Filipinos at the Mabruk Oil Field on Feb. 3. Their whereabouts are still unknown.

VAOS, which refused to release the names of the victims, said none of its employees were physically harmed during the attack.

No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction as of Wednesday.

The Austrian-owned VAOS said it is working closely with the Philippine and other concerned embassies, as well as with the Austrian and Czech crisis teams, in locating both captors and victims. It also said it will continue to give updates to concerned parties.

However, it asked the public to avoid speculation to “safeguard those missing and ensure that we do not cause the families involved any more pain or anguish.”

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the seized workers were part of a group that remained at the ol field despite two weeks of inactivity due to armed attacks on oil facilities.

VAOS employs 52 other Filipinos who were evacuated from the Al-Ghani oil field earlier and taken to the company headquarters in Tripoli. At least 36 of them had expressed desire to be repatriated to the Philippines.

The DFA has raised Alert Level 4 in Libya, mandating mandatory repatriation.

(Source: Rie Takumi/KBK)

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