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3 Filipinos missing after oilfield attack in Libya

TRIPOLI, Libya (UPDATED) – Three Filipinos are missing after gunmen attacked an oil field in Libya and killed 11 workers earlier this week, the parallel administration that controls the capital said Thursday, February 5, revising a previous toll.

Mashallah al-Zwei, oil minister in the Tripoli-based government, told journalists 11 people – 10 Libyans and a Nigerien – died at the field, which is partly owned by France's Total and has 57 employees.

"The DFA and the Philippine Embassy in Libya are monitoring the situation and coordinating closely with the employer of the Filipinos, in ensuring their well-being and safe return," the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement on February 4.

An earlier toll for Tuesday night's attack on Al-Mabruk field put the number of dead at 13, including 3 Filipinos and two Ghanaians.

The 3 Filipinos work for Italian engineering company Sogepi, said Zwei.

And the foreign ministry in Manila said they had been kidnapped along with four other foreigners.

"The Philippine embassy in Libya are monitoring the situation and coordinating closely with Sogepi...in ensuring their well-being and safe return," the ministry said on its website.

Hakim Maazzab, head of security at a nearby oil complex, said the victims all "had their throats slit apart from one Libyan, who was shot dead."

And Zwei said the unidentified assailants looted the facility, making off with vehicles and supplies.

A spokesman for the guards at Libya's oil installations, Ali al-Hassi, accused jihadists loyal to the Islamic State group (IS) of carrying out the attack, without providing details.

Al-Mabruk sits some 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of the coastal city of Sirte, the hometown of slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Since Kadhafi's overthrow in a NATO-backed revolt in 2011, Sirte has become a stronghold of extremists, including Ansar al-Sharia, which is blacklisted by the United Nations and Washington for its links to Al-Qaeda.

There was no production from the Al-Mabruk field at the time of the attack because of restricted export capacity at terminals on the coast.

The North African nation has been wracked by conflict for the past 4 years, with rival governments and powerful militias now battling for control of key cities and the country's oil riches.

Libya's internationally recognized government is based in the far east of the country, near the Egyptian border.

IS, which has seized chunks of Iraq and Syria, is thought to have gained a foothold in Libya and claimed last month's attack on a Tripoli hotel that killed nine people, including five foreigners. – Rappler.com