MANILA, Philippines (AP) – Two Filipino maids employed by ousted Libyan leader Moammar Khaddafy’s relative fled the household and were evacuated by their embassy in Tripoli, the Philippine government said yesterday.
Philippine Ambassador Alejandrino Vicente said the maids escaped the residence Monday morning and were met by an embassy team waiting for them in two cars. They did not bring any belongings with them and were immediately brought across the border to Tunisia.
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson Raul Hernandez said Vicente told him that two other maids working for another of Khaddafy’s relatives did not fear for their safety and chose to stay in Libya. Neither relative was identified.
He said he did not have details on the two maids who escaped, identified as Diana Jill Rivera and Mary Ann Ducos. The DFA reported last month it was aware of their condition and was trying to get them out but could not because of fighting. Tripoli fell to the rebels August 21.
“Even before, I think there was an idea where they were. I don’t want to speculate why but always the consideration is their security,”’ Hernandez told The Associated Press.
“In August, what we said was they were in a location where at that time it was not opportune for them to leave.”
He said the other two were staying within the same area but in a different household.
Hernandez said the Philippine government was pushing for the maids’ evacuation in talks with the former leadership and the new opposition-led government, which Manila recognized only last month after initial reluctance because of concerns for safety of other Filipino workers still in Libya.
There were no casualties among about 1,700 Filipinos, mostly nurses, working in Libya.
Hernandez said Rivera and Ducos were expected to be back in Manila within a week.
SENIOR KHADDAFY GENERAL CAPTURED – OFFICIAL
A senior general loyal to Khaddafy was captured in southern Libya, an official from the country’s new regime told AFP yesterday, as the hunt for the toppled dictator intensified.
“General Belgacem Al-Abaaj, Kaddhafy’s intelligence chief in the Al Khofra region, was captured” on Monday some 100 kilometers from the southern Libyan town of Sabha, said Mohamed Wardugu, spokesman for the “Desert Shield Brigade” in Benghazi.
Al-Abaaj, who had been sought by the forces of the National Transitional Council (NTC), was seized with members of his family who were traveling in five four-wheel drive vehicles, added Wardugu.
“This general has committed many crimes in Al Khofra (in Libya’s far south) and when this town was liberated he fled towards (central) Al Joufra (center),” where he commanded sabotage operations against the new regime forces, Wardugu told AFP.
Wardugu, brother of brigade commander Barka Wardugu, said that the NTC forces had entered Sabha, taken control of the airport and the garrison there but that fighting was continuing in some quarters.
Total control of the town “will be achieved in some hours” he added.
More than 300 Kadhafi mercenaries had fled the fighting. “Our fighters ambushed then and killed, wounded or captured many,” Wardugu added, without giving figures.
Elsewhere fierce fighting raged on Monday in Bani Walid, as new Libyan regime fighters attacked the oasis town where Kaddhafy’s son Seif al-Islam is believed holed up, possibly with his father. (AFP)