Kidnapped Filipino Red Cross employee appeals for immediate help

The Filipino employee of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), kidnapped with two other colleagues by Abu Sayyaf militants in southern Philippines, cried for help as conditions are becoming hard and painful for them, local media reported.

Mary Jean Lacaba, 37, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a permitted phone conversation that the three in captive pleaded the governments and other organizations or persons working for their release to quicken the process if possible.

“It has become very hard and truly painful. Physically and emotionally, it’s really very, very hard,” Lacaba said in low and trembling voice, in a mix of Filipino and English, according to the report.

But Lacaba said she did not know what her captors really wanted. No ransom request was raised even it was the seventh week since the abduction, local officials and media said, indicating that the case was possibly different from a string of kidnappings-for- ransom cases conducted by Abu Sayyaf and its affiliated gangs.

Lacaba and her colleagues — Swiss national Andreas Notter, 38, and Italian Eugenio Vagni, 62, — were snatched at gunpoint on Jan. 15 in Pakitul town on Jolo island after the ICRC team inspected local prison sanitation facilities.

Abu Sayyaf young commander Albader Parad claimed responsibility of the abduction one week later.

Meanwhile, a Geneva-based ICRC official who recently visited the family of Lacaba in the southern City of Davao appealed to the abductors’ sense of humanity as he reiterated their call for the swift and unconditional release their colleagues.

“Meeting the families was very moving for me. They are suffering horribly and my heart goes out to them,” said Alain Aeschlimann, ICRC’s head of operations for East Asia, South-East Asia and the Pacific.

“We are concerned about their health and about the fatigue and stress they are suffering,” he said in a statement late last Thursday.

The government troops have forged a loose cordon to confine the hostages-holding abductors in a certain area in the hinterland of Jolo, but the authorities said it would not use force to rescue the hostages untill all peaceful means are exhausted.

Xinhua News Service

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Published in: on February 28, 2009 at 6:03 am  Comments Off on Kidnapped Filipino Red Cross employee appeals for immediate help  
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