Filipina nurse kidnapped, raped in Libya

Posted at 07/31/14 1:09 AM

TRIPOLI - Unknown gunmen kidnapped and raped a Filipina nurse Wednesday in the Libyan capital, medics and security officials said.

The woman was seized early in the morning as she was on her way to work, said the health ministry spokesman, and was released several hours later after suffering an unspecified "aggression".

But a source within the security services said she had been raped by her captors.

The ministry said the incident could push the Philippines to speed up the evacuation of its citizens, 3,000 of whom work in Libya as doctors and nurses, as the country sinks further into chaos.

The spokesman said that following Wednesday's incident, Filipino medical personnel had left hospitals in Tripoli to await evacuation.

On July 20, as the lawless North African country sank further into violence, the Philippines urged its estimated 13,000 citizens in Libya to leave and alerted them to prepare for a mass evacuation.

Several countries, including Portugal, the Netherlands, Canada and Bulgaria, evacuated citizens or closed their embassies in Tripoli earlier this week.

And France said Wednesday it had temporarily closed its embassy, and a French diplomat said 40 French nationals, including the ambassador, had been evacuated by sea along with seven Britons.