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Pinoy Abroad

Filipino tourist injured in Mumbai hotel attack

November 27, 2008 4:40pm
(4th Update) MANILA, Philippines - A Filipino who was visiting Mumbai on a business trip sustained minor injuries when suspected Islamic extremists attacked a hotel on Wednesday evening, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported.

DFA spokesperson Claro Cristobal told reporters in a text message on Thursday that the Filipino is now safe after receiving treatment from an injury he sustained in the attack at the Oberoi Hotel & Resort in Mumbai. No other information about the Filipino victim was given.

The DFA and Philippine Embassy in New Delhi said that there have been no Filipino casualty in the series of attacks that happened in one of India's financial districts.

Cristobal said four other Filipinos were affected by the attacks, including two Filipino chefs who worked at the Tiffen restaurant of the Oberoi hotel and their wives who arrived recently to visit them.

The DFA spokesperson further said that the two Filipinas are reportedly staying in Trident hotel near the Oberoi in Nariman Point in Mumbai and were told by Philippine Embassy officials to remain inside their rooms until further notice.

Deputy Chief of Missions Maria Aileen Bugarin told GMANews.TV in a phone interview that there have been no Filipino casualties in the area covered by the Philippine honorary consulate in states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa.

A total of 90 Filipinos, mostly married to Indian nationals, currently reside in Mumbai, one of India’s financial districts and home to the world’s largest filmmaking industry, "Bollywood."

No Filipino is employed in the Taj Mahal hotel, which was also attacked by terrorists who reportedly even held a few foreign guests captive in the plush hotel's top room. But Indian police denied the report and said no hostage situation took place in the luxury establishment.

As of Thursday afternoon, Pradeep Indulkar, a senior official at the Maharashtra state Home Ministry told the Associated Press that Wednesday’s attacks have claimed some 101 lives, while injuring 287 others.

The Philippine Embassy in New Delhi reported that only 15 percent of the 500 Filipinos in India are employed in various industries including IT, engineering, hospitality as well as foreign or diplomatic relations.

In the spate of attacks in India, Bugarin said the Philippine Embassy launched a massive telephone drive among the Filipino nationals to caution them about further threats.

Meanwhile, Oberoi officials said the hotel remains under tight security after reports claimed that the attackers remain holed up in the luxury establishment with seven foreign nationals as hostage.

“South Mumbai and our hotels are under the control of the Police and Security forces. We are monitoring the situation closely. As of now we do not have more information," the Oberoi officials said in a statement.

Mumbai, the capital city of the Indian state Maharashtra, is 722 miles (or roughly an hour-and-a-half plane ride) away from the country’s capital, New Delhi.

Following the attacks, the Indian government has imposed a curfew in the area and has suspended classes.

Since May a militant group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen has taken credit for a string of blasts that killed more than 130 people. The most recent was in September, when a series of explosions struck a park and crowded shopping areas in the capital, New Delhi, killing 21 people and wounding about 100. - Mark Joseph Ubalde, GMANews.TV