Red Cross workers pray for release of colleagues

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Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 11:57 pm  Comments Off on Red Cross workers pray for release of colleagues  
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Deadline passes; no beheading

ZAMBOANGA CITY — The Abu Sayyaf did not carry out its threat to behead one of the workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross, even after it’s new deadline for a troop pullout expired at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

“I have information na okay pa naman ang tatlo at hindi naman sila pinugutan (that the three are okay and have not been beheaded),” Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.

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Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 11:10 pm  Comments Off on Deadline passes; no beheading  
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Troops, tanks advance to Sayyaf stronghold after beheading deadline expires

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine troops and tanks are advancing toward a jungle stronghold of al-Qaeda-linked extremists after a deadline expired for the beheading of one of three Red Cross hostages.

Officials redeployed government forces near the Abu Sayyaf camp in Indanan township on southern Jolo Island and put the predominantly Muslim region under a state of emergency after talks for the safe release of the hostages became bogged down and the militants threatened to behead them by 2 p.m. Tuesday.

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Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 9:53 pm  Comments Off on Troops, tanks advance to Sayyaf stronghold after beheading deadline expires  
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‘No Red Cross worker beheaded’

Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan said Tuesday evening that no beheading has taken place hours after the Abu Sayyaf Group’s (ASG) 2 p.m. deadline for killing or releasing one of three Red Cross hostages lapsed.

Tan’s statement is consistent with reports received by ABS-CBN News and abs-cbnNEWS.com from military sources that the hostages are alive.

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Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 9:46 pm  Comments Off on ‘No Red Cross worker beheaded’  
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Reclaim positions, military in Sulu told

MANILA, Philippines— Just hours after the deadline imposed by the Abu Sayyaf group for a military pullout in Sulu expired, Sulu Governor Sakur Tan said he ordered government troops to regain their positions.

This as he said none of the three Red Cross hostages was harmed despite the expiration of the deadline set by the extremist group for the military to pull out its troops in Sulu.

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Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 7:02 pm  Comments Off on Reclaim positions, military in Sulu told  
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2 solons join Sulu kidnap negotiations

MANILA, Philippines—Two lawmakers have joined negotiations for the Abu Sayyaf to release three Red Cross workers the extremist group has been holding hostage for three months and threatened to behead, a Malacañang official said.

At the same time, Presidential Management Staff (PMS) Chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said that the deadline set by the Abu Sayyaf for government troops to pull out from Jolo Island was extended from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

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Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 6:45 pm  Comments Off on 2 solons join Sulu kidnap negotiations  
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Crisis team all out to save ICRC hostages

MANILA, Philippines— In the crucial final hours to the deadline, decision makers shuffled back and forth from Manila to Sulu as government negotiators made last ditch efforts to negotiate a peaceful ending to the hostage crisis that gripped the province for 75 days.

But by early afternoon on Tuesday, police and civilian auxiliary forces were ordered to return to the towns of Indanan and Maimbung in Sulu, localities close to the known movement area of an Abu Sayyaf cell holding three aid workers for two and a half months now.

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Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 6:35 pm  Comments Off on Crisis team all out to save ICRC hostages  
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Arroyo firm against troops pullout in Jolo

MANILA, Philippines—President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is firm against a pullout of government forces in Jolo Island as demanded by the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf in exchange for the safety of its three Red Cross workers that it had been holding hostage, a senior Malacañang official said.

Arroyo stood pat on keeping military and police forces in Jolo during a Cabinet meeting at the Palace on Tuesday, Presidential Management Staff Chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr. told reporters.

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Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 5:49 pm  Comments Off on Arroyo firm against troops pullout in Jolo  
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Lives of Service: the Red Cross Hostages

Mary Jean Lacaba, 44

“Naa na ko Sulu mam.” This was the last text message 44-year-old Mary Jean Lacaba sent to a close relative before news broke that she and two other companions were taken captive by the Abu Sayyaf group.

Fondly called “Nene” by her family, Mary Jean Lacaba grew up in Davao where she graduated from the University of Mindanao with degrees in Civil Engineering and Education. In 2003, she earned a Masters degree in Environmental Engineering from the same university.

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Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 5:03 pm  Comments Off on Lives of Service: the Red Cross Hostages  
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Abu Sayyaf moves deadline to 5 p.m. Tuesday

ZAMBOANGA CITY— The Abu Sayyaf extended the deadline for the total pull-out of government troops from several villages in Sulu to 5 p.m. Tuesday, a source involved in the ground operations told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.

The informant said the extension was issued after Sulu Vice Governor Nur Anna Sahidulla and Sulu Representative Yusop Jikiri met with Doctor Abu, another Abu Sayyaf leader on the island-province.

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Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 4:52 pm  Comments Off on Abu Sayyaf moves deadline to 5 p.m. Tuesday  
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