Gravesites of 4 OFWs abducted by ISIS in Libya found

Published March 2, 2021, 3:16 PM

by Roy Mabasa

Libyan authorities have finally located the gravesites of four Filipino oil workers who were kidnapped and killed by Islamic State (ISIS) extremists in that country almost six years ago. 


The Philippine Embassy in Tripoli said it was able to confirm the location of the remains of the four Filipinos in a cemetery in the eastern coastal city of Derna on Monday, March 1, 2021.

Libyan authorities brought Philippine Embassy officials to the Dahr Ahmar Islamic Cemetery 10 kilometers from Derna, where they said the four workers — identified as Donato Santiago, Gregorio Titan, Roldan Blaza, and Wilson Eligue — were buried after their bodies were recovered six years ago.

 In a Facebook post, the Embassy said the four Filipino workers, along with two co-workers from Austria and the Czech Republic, have been reported missing since March 6, 2015 when ISIS militants attacked the Ghani Oil Field in southern Libya. 

According to the Embassy, nothing much had been heard about the kidnapped foreign oil workers until two years later when a video showing their execution was found in a laptop seized from slain ISIS fighters in Derna, a town located in northeastern Libya.

The six had since been presumed dead although their bodies were never recovered. They were all employed by the Austrian contracting firm  Value Added Oil Services (VAOS).

 In 2018, the Embassy was informed that the remains of the four missing Filipinos could be among those that have been recovered by the Libyan Red Crescent in various parts of Derna and later buried there.

“However, due to the unstable security situation, the Embassy was not able to send a team to Derna to search for the four Filipinos. It was only in October that Embassy officials were able to travel to Benghazi and request the assistance of authorities in finding the four,” the Embassy said.

Libyan Red Crescent volunteers were convinced that the bodies they buried there belonged to the six kidnapped foreign oil workers.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will make arrangements for forensics experts to assist in identifying the remains and bringing them home. It has already informed the respective families of the OFWs here in the Philippines on the latest developments.