2 Filipino women abducted in Iraq freed

MANILA (XINHUA) - The Philippines confirmed on Monday (July 9) that two Filipino women abducted in Iraq three days ago have been freed.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of the Philippines said Iraqi authorities informed the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad on Sunday that the two Filipino women are now under police custody after they were rescued in Diyala Province, north of the capital, on Saturday.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano thanked the authorities in Iraq for the swift and successful rescue of the two Filipinos.

"Their safe recovery would not have been possible without the swift response of our Iraqi friends and for that, we are very grateful," Mr Cayetano said in a statement.

According to reports, four Filipinas came from Erbil in the northern Kurdistan Region and were on their way to Baghdad when their vehicle encountered armed men along the highway in Uzem District, between Kirkuk and Diyala, on Friday.

The reports said the women were taken by the armed men after their driver abandoned their vehicle. However, another two of the four women were reportedly able to escape from their captors.

It is estimated that there are 4,000 Filipinos working in Iraq, with around 3,000 based in the Kurdistan Region.

The DFA said it is still working for the release of three Filipino technicians who were among four foreign nationals taken by armed men from a waterworks project site in Libya also on Friday.

The Philippine Embassy in Tripoli reported that armed men entered the construction site located 500km from Tripoli early on Friday morning and took five foreigners and four Libyans from their quarters.

The armed men later released one of the foreign workers and all the Libyans.