Filipinos wore garland of explosives

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Algerian special police unit officers guard the entrance of an hospital located near the gas plant where hostages have been kidnapped by Islamic militants, in Ain Amenas, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013. Algeria’s special forces stormed the natural gas complex in the middle of the Sahara desert in a final assault Saturday. AP/Anis Belghoul

MANILA, Philippines—Foreign workers abducted by Islamist militants in Algeria were garlanded with explosives and put into trucks rigged with bombs, the wife of one of the Filipino captives recounted Saturday.

Ruben Andrada was just days into his job at a gas plant in the north African desert when he was seized by gunmen avenging what they said was Algiers’ support for French military action in neighboring Mali, his wife said.

“According to him they draped a bomb on him, like a necklace,” said Edelyn Andrada in an interview aired by local radio station dzMM, which said the incident took place during a rescue bid by Algerian forces. (See related story in The World, Page A23.)

“Luckily, the bomb planted in his vehicle failed to explode. The bombs in the other vehicles went off and so people died,” Edelyn Andrada said.

She said her husband, whom dzMM said worked as a surveyor for a Japanese company, communicated to her by text message as he recovered at an unspecified hospital where he was being treated for gunshot wounds and cuts.

Another Filipino hostage recounted on local television Saturday how he escaped from his kidnappers’ clutches.

Taken at gunpoint

Jojo Balmaceda, employed by British oil giant BP, and three fellow Filipino workers were taken at gunpoint as they arrived for work on Wednesday, tied up and thrown into a truck along with Japanese and Malaysian hostages, the GMA 7 network reported.

Balmaceda escaped when the truck was hit by an explosion but sustained a gunshot wound to his head which affected his hearing, the station said.

“After that I ran away, fearing that the vehicle would explode. Then I lost consciousness and when I woke up I was already in a hospital,” Balmaceda said in a brief telephone interview.

“I hope to get on a flight so I could be back home tomorrow,” he added.

GMA said it interviewed Balmaceda shortly before he was flown to London.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson Raul Hernandez did not answer Agence France-Presse queries on Balmaceda specifically and Philippine embassy officials in London were unavailable for comment.

 

34 en route home

Hernandez said 34 Filipino workers were evacuated from the Algerian gas field and were on their way home to the Philippines.

“We have sent a team from our embassy in Tripoli to Algeria to monitor the incident on the ground and assist overseas Filipino workers who may need assistance there,” he said.

Hernandez did not reply to AFP queries on whether there were other Filipino casualties or hostages. Press reports said at least two Filipinos were among those killed in the rescue operation.

The DFA was still waiting for a report from the Algerian government Saturday and Hernandez could not confirm the reports. AFP, with a report from Tarra Quismundo

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  • junsepara

    the new heroes of my country!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/mdg513 Mario Garcia

      but sad to say, they are only notice when our life is in danger, usually when we go to work, check points are always there armed with AK 47/ machine guns but these can not do anything when these terrorist set an attack.

      • junsepara

        what else can we do, we are there to work and earn a living for our families and our country, I worked their too for years, in KSA we could not even build a church there, all we have is a huddled people in a  room of whoever led the prayers to practice our faith, in UAE and others we have churches that are more heavily guarded than their military base!!! just the same in workplace, we will never know WHEN!! they are going to be a terrorist!!! so, its irrelevant if they have gates with AK/47 with them.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/KIO7WLD47UUZ5L6Y3FM2X2GNRU brian

        I think ur info is wrong jun… ive been working here in UAE for more than 7years…. and almost every week we are going to church with my family….
        I did not notice in military personnel guarding the church … :)

      • junsepara

        yes. in my time there, 1989 to 92, I work in ETISALAT abu dhabi, my best time of my life, and we do have road blocks manned by police nearby leading to the church with bollards, as I said it was heavily guarded more than their military base!!!

      • doncleo

        you cant even build your church in KSA but these Muslims want to build their domes everywhere..even if they are in a Christian country they want their religion to dominate their host..

      • junsepara

        very true, in vatican their is a mosque, everywhere muslims can practice their faith without harm, prejudice, discriminations, christians on the otherhand is being pelted, spit on, killed and other inhuman astrocities known to man from indonesia to the middleast, this are the discripancy man has tragically ignores!!!

  • Vertumnus

    Does this company have any security contingent that would have at least warned the whole facilities of the terrorist attack?. It’s a massive facility and given enough warning, people could have found hiding places.  Do they even have safe building where employees can take refuge if such a thing happened?  I used to work for a company that has policies in place should the unthinkable happens and all employees are required to practice the drill every 3 months.  Ballistic doors, steel reinforced concrete rooms. I love that company. 

  • kanoy

    BLAME GMA

    PHILIPPINES GIVES IN TO KIDNAPPERS DEMANDS WITHDRAWS 51 FROM IRAQ

     Filipinos wore garland of explosives

    THIS IS ALL PROMPTED BY THE PHILIPPINES

     More than 60 foreigners have been taken hostage in recent months, and there were fears that the action by the Philippines government would lead to more kidnappings and prompt members of the U.S.-led coalition to think twice about sending, or keeping, their soldiers in Iraq.

    “The Filipino withdrawal tells the insurgents that they can continue to chip away at this coalition and make it a coalition of two (Britain and the United States),” said Richard Shultz, a professor of security studies at Tufts University.
    In Baghdad, Filipino hostage Angelo dela Cruz was dropped off in front of the United Arab Emirates Embassy on Tuesday, a day after his government withdrew the last of the 51 troops they had stationed here.
    The United States and Iraq have criticized the pullout, saying it would endanger others here.
    “All of us know that if you appease terrorism, you will sooner or later fall victim to it or be taken over by it,”

    • patukar

      Blame your father as well why did you exist in this world!

      • kanoy

        BACKSTABBING COWARDLY RP GOVERNMENT,,,,,

        51 FROM IRAQ

         Filipinos wore garland of explosives

        THIS IS ALL PROMPTED BY THE PHILIPPINES

         More than 60 foreigners have been taken hostage in recent months, and
        there were fears that the action by the Philippines government would
        lead to more kidnappings and prompt members of the U.S.-led coalition to
        think twice about sending, or keeping, their soldiers in Iraq.

        “The Filipino withdrawal tells the insurgents that they can continue to
        chip away at this coalition and make it a coalition of two (Britain and
        the United States),” said Richard Shultz, a professor of security
        studies at Tufts University.
        In Baghdad, Filipino hostage Angelo dela Cruz was dropped off in front
        of the United Arab Emirates Embassy on Tuesda.

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