Seaman from Philippines kidnapped in Nigeria

May. 29, 2007

MANILA Philippine ambassador to Nigeria Masaranga R. Umpa reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs that a Filipino seaman has been confirmed to be among those recently abducted in Nigeria.

The Filipino seaman was abducted in Bayelsa State, Nigeria, along with four British nationals, three Americans, one South African and one Nigerian. The abduction took place on 25 May 2007, at about 7:00 a.m. (Nigeria time), when several boatloads of armed men attacked the offshore construction barge where the abduction victims worked.

The new information rectifies a previous report relayed to the Department where the Filipino seaman was earlier mistakenly identified to be an Indian national.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo has issued instructions to Undersecretary Esteban B. Conejos, Jr., who is in Nigeria, and Ambassador Umpa to coordinate and extend all assistance necessary to the Nigerian government in its efforts to secure the release of the Filipino seaman and the other abductees.

The Philippine Embassy has since established contact and cooperation lines with the Nigerian authorities in Abuja and Bayelsa State, as well as with the employers and the other concerned embassies in Abuja. The Nigerian government, as in previous cases involving abducted Filipinos, has committed to do its utmost to secure the release of the abduction victims at the earliest possible time.

Secretary Romulo said, This new abduction case underlines the perilous situation that confronts Filipino workers in some countries. It is for their own interest, therefore, that we ask our people to respect the deployment ban and abide by the restrictions on travel to Nigeria, as well as Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon.

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