Two Filipino workers were killed in a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq last week, officials said Friday. U.S. authorities reported the men died on Nov. 11 "as a result of an improvised explosive device" in eastern Iraq, said Ariz Severino Convelecer, a senior Philippine diplomat in Kuwait.
The remains of the two men were flown to Kuwait and would be repatriated next week, the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
It wasn't immediately clear whom the men had worked for, but about 6,000 Filipinos are employed in U.S. military camps across Iraq, mostly as cooks and maintenance personnel. Many workers have slipped into Iraq from neighboring countries despite the Philippine government's ban on employment in the country.
ANC TV reported the victims, aged 30 and 35, were employed by a South Korean trading company, but that could not be immediately confirmed. An advocacy group for overseas Filipino workers, Migrante, said about a dozen Filipino workers have been killed in Iraq since 2003.
The Philippines banned deployment of workers to Iraq after insurgents abducted Filipino truck driver Angelo de la Cruz in July 2004. To save his life, Manila granted the kidnappers' demand for the early withdrawal of its small peacekeeping contingent, a decision strongly criticized by Washington and other allies, but applauded at home.
A second Filipino abducted by Iraqi militants was freed in June after almost eight months in captivity, reports the AP. I.L.