The Philippine government says four Filipino nurses reported to have been kidnapped from a Libyan hospital by militants from an Islamic State group affiliate were actually taken to a safe place by a friend and were not abducted.

Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said Tuesday that the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli got in touch with one of the four nurses, who said they were all safe.

An official of a militia battling the Islamic State group affiliate reported the kidnappings in the city of Sirte on Monday.

Jose said "a local friend who was concerned for their safety" took the four nurses from their accommodation to a "safer place."

He said there still was no word about seven Filipino oil field workers kidnapped earlier in Libya.