By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA — Seventeen Filipinos, including five minors, fled to a safer area after armed men stormed the residential building they were staying in at Salahuddin, the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli reported Monday.
Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato said they are now staying with relatives and friends in other parts of Libya.
The embassy then called on Filipinos near the frontlines to remain vigilant and relocate to safer places.
“The Philippine Embassy in Tripoli reiterated its call for Filipinos in the Libyan capital near where fighting has been taking place to evacuate immediately to avoid getting caught in the crossfire,” the Embassy said in an advisory.
Since April, conflicts continue to grip parts of Libya after a military campaign to capture Tripoli was launched by Gen. Khalifa Haftar of the Libyan National Army.
The embassy urged some 400 Filipinos residing or working in other areas near the fighting to prepare for evacuation in case these clashes spill over to their locations.
The embassy has not received any reports of Filipino casualties in the fighting on the ground as well as airstrikes that have targeted not only Tripoli but also the cities of Misrata, Zawiyah, Zliten, and Missalata.
Cato said they are closely monitoring two hospitals near the clashes which were previously hit by artillery fire.
He said Filipinos who may be displaced by the fighting and have no place to go can seek shelter at the embassy, or opt for repatriation.
A total of 149 Filipinos have so far been repatriated since the conflict in Tripoli erupted almost nine months ago. (PNA)