Close Call at Qasr bin Gashir

We were on our way back to the Embassy this afternoon after visiting our nurses at the Tripoli Central Hospital and the Al Khadra General Hospital when we received the call. It was Bari Macalawi, a member of the augmentation team from the Department of Foreign Affairs, relaying information he had just received.

Bari said a Filipino working for an oil and gas service provider outside Tripoli was wounded when a mortar round fell in their compound near the Tripoli International Airport and exploded. Our kababayan is lucky he only sustained a shrapnel wound in his right foot. His Sudanese coworker was not—he was killed in the explosion.

What happened to our kababayan In Qasr bin Ghashir earlier in the morning underscores the danger that all of us face here in Tripoli as a result of the ongoing fighting just outside its gates. It comes a week after another kababayan narrowly escaped death after rockets fell on a neighborhood where more than 200 other Filipinos live and work.

The incident comes a few days after mortar rounds struck a hospital also in Qasr bin Ghashir where 18 Filipino nurses were working. It also followed the close call of six other Filipinos who found themselves in the middle of intense clashes in Ain Zara. A few days ago, several Filipinos in another compound that was taken over by armed men also asked our help to convince their employers to move them to safer grounds.

Some of us may not be lucky the next time rockets or mortars rain in on Tripoli. And so before the fighting intensifies further and before it gets closer to where many of our kababayan are in Tripoli, we plead to them and to their families in the Philippines to please seriously consider our offer to bring them home while we still can.

Tripoli, 24 April 2019

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