ICRC calls for stop to fighting in Sulu

MANILA, Philippines — The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has appealed to the military and Abu Sayyaf fighters holding three of the aid organization’s workers to stop fighting each other in Sulu for the sake of the hostages’ safety.

In a statement posted on the aid group’s website, ICRC Asia-Pacific chief Alain Aeschlimann said the recent clashes in Sulu are putting the lives of Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba, Italian Eugenio Vagni, and Swiss Andreas Notter in danger.

“Their safety is paramount. We repeat our call that no action should be taken that could put the lives of Mary Jean, Eugenio and Andreas in danger,” he said.

If anything happens to the three workers, the ICRC would hold those engaged in the fighting responsible, Aeschlimann said.

“The responsibility for their wellbeing lies with all those involved in this situation,” he said.

Lacaba, Vagni and Notter were abducted January 15 near the Sulu provincial capitol.

Albader Parad, the leader of an Abu Sayyaf faction, later said his group was holding the three aid workers hostage and has been demanding a troop pullout from Sulu before agreeing to negotiate for the hostages’ release.

The military refused and has thrown a cordon of troops and civilian volunteers around the area where they believe the ICRC workers are being held.

Fighting erupted on Monday when Parad reportedly tried to break through the cordon. Authorities are trying to confirm reports he may have been wounded or killed.

Kristine L. Alave, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Published in: on March 17, 2009 at 2:20 pm  Comments Off on ICRC calls for stop to fighting in Sulu  
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