Two Filipinas kidnapped in Iraq last Friday were released yesterday by their abductors and are now safe under the custody of Baghdad authorities, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano expressed gratitude to authorities in Iraq for the swift and successful rescue of the two Filipinas.
In a statement, the DFA said Iraqi authorities informed the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad that the two Filipinas are now under police custody after they were rescued in Diyala Province north of the capital on Saturday – a day after they were forcibly taken by armed men.
“We thank God for the successful rescue of our two kababayan,” Cayetano said after receiving the good news from Chargé d’Affaires Julius Torres
“Their safe recovery would not have been possible without the swift response of our Iraqi friends and for that we are very grateful,” Cayetano added.
In his report to the DFA, Torres said the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad was informed by authorities in Diyala Province that the two were rescued from members of a criminal group.
Syndicate members caught
Torres said authorities told the embassy that several members of the criminal group were arrested during the police rescue operation and that charges were being prepared against them.
According to Torres, the embassy has requested Iraqi authorities access to the two rescued women and the two other Filipinas who were earlier reported to have been taken into custody after escaping from the same armed men who took them.
It will be recalled that initially, four Filipinas were taken from Erbil in the norther Kurdistan Region while on their way to Baghdad after their vehicle encountered the armed men along the highway in Uzem District between Kirkuk and Diyala Friday.
The reports said the women were taken by the armed men after their driver abandoned their vehicle. However, two of the four women reportedly escaped from their captors.
Torres said the embassy would request custody of the four women as soon as the police investigation is concluded so that they could immediately be repatriated.