By Roy Mabasa
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Friday announced the release of the three Filipinos and a South Korean national who were abducted by an armed group at a water project site in western Libya more than 10 months ago.
In a statement posted on its official website, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said the “intensive efforts” that led to the release of the civilian captives were made “in coordination and cooperation between UAE and the Libyan National Army (LNA).”
The UAE government said the three Filipinos and Korean national were already airlifted to Abu Dhabi prior to their repatriation to their respective home countries.
However, the Emirates did not mention the names of the freed civilians nor the date of their actual release.
The UAE foreign ministry said they communicated with the LNA for the release of the civilians “upon receiving requests from the Philippines and South Korea.”
“As a result of a solid cooperation and coordination between the UAE and the Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, search efforts had continued and resulted in finding them safely.
The UAE government stated that it is now working on sending back the freed civilians to their home countries.
“The release of these innocent civilians has been made after intensive efforts to convey a message about the significance and importance of strengthening security and peace in Libya, and to contain criminal practices by armed groups who hold civilians captive without any consideration to international charters and norms,” the UAE said in the statement.
“In this case, they did not consider that these civilians work for companies that are serving national interests of Libya and its people,” it added.
Furthermore, it said the release of the four individuals means reuniting them with their families and getting them back home “after a long period of suffering,”
In July last year, an unidentified armed group abducted the three Filipinos and their Korean co-worker at The Great Man-made River Project in western Libya.