3 kidnapped Red Cross workers calm—ICRC

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—The three workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) remained calm despite their continued captivity by Abu Sayyaf gunmen in Sulu, the incoming communications coordinator of the aid group said Friday.

Anastacia Isyuk, who was set to replace Roland Bigler, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone that Swiss Andreas Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni and Filipina Jean Lacaba, made contacts with the ICRC office in Manila on Wednesday.

Notter, Vagni and Lacaba were being held by the group of Albader Parad after they were snatched just outside the Sulu provincial capitol in Patikul town on January 15.

“Yes, we heard from them on Wednesday. Although it’s an enormously tremendous situation for them, they did sound calm and composed,” Isyuk said.

But she declined to reveal the other details of their talk with the three kidnapped victims.

Isyuk said the ICRC community was eagerly watching the situation and that they were hoping their three colleagues would be freed soon. On the ICRC website, a counter reflecting the days the three had spent in captivity was also posted.

“It means that we are all waiting everyday, all the ICRC staff here in Manila, in Geneva and worldwide for our colleagues to be back with us again and of course we hope this day will come very soon,” Isyuk said.

She said the ICRC community also admires the three captives for their “resilience in dealing with this difficult situation.”

“And we believe that their health is stable even though they are suffering from fatigue and stress,” Isyuk said.

Asked about the reported ransom money the Abu Sayyaf had demanded in exchange for the freedom of the victims, Isyuk begged off.

The alleged P50-million ransom was bared by Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema, who heads a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front.

Jolo Mayor Hussin Amin admitted receiving similar reports but he dismissed them as rumors because “I was not the one who personally received it.”

Amin said if the P50-million demand was true, it could be for cigarettes and coffee only.

He said he even received information that the Abu Sayyaf wanted P500 for all three hostages. Parad had denied his group was asking money.

Julie Alipala, Philippine Daily Inquirer

Published in: on March 14, 2009 at 6:32 am  Comments Off on 3 kidnapped Red Cross workers calm—ICRC  
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