2 Filipino maids for Gadhafi relative return home

AP News
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Posted: Sep 24, 2011 9:42 AM
2 Filipino maids for Gadhafi relative return home

Two Filipino maids returned home Saturday after making a daring escape from their employer in Libya, a relative of ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Diana Jill Rivera and Mary Ann Ducos told reporters that they feared for their lives after the Libyan uprising started early this year and especially after rebel forces ransacked the residence of their employer in Tariq Matar.

Rivera said they slipped out of the house wearing only pajamas and socks at dawn Monday and ran to a waiting Philippine Embassy car while their employer was asleep.

She said they made secret calls to a Philippine diplomat from a toilet in the house to arrange their rescue. The embassy officer later took them to Tunisia.

Rivera, 30, and Ducos, 29, worked for a year for the daughter of a Gadhafi nephew whom they identified as Shariff Sahal, who fled to Tunisia a month earlier.

Philippine labor attache Nasser Mustafa said the plan was to rescue the two on Thursday, but he moved it ahead because of a deterioration of the security situation after rebel forces raided the residence on Sunday.

The rebels ransacked the home and took away the family's 10 vehicles as well as most of the personal belongings of the two Filipinos, he said.

Rivera said she and Ducos rehearsed repeatedly how to slip out undetected, secretly practicing how to open the main door without making any sound.

"We were just in our pajamas, we wore no shoes, and we brought nothing with us," she said. "We were so fearful we would be discovered. When we opened the gate, we just ran out and hid among the trees."

Mustafa said two other Filipino women working for another Gadhafi relative have reported they are safe and have opted to stay "because they cannot find work back home."

He said only about 2,230 of the 26,000 Filipinos who were working in Libya before the uprising still remain there.