Gordon confident Abu leader will honor ‘gentlemen’s agreement’

Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross, said Thursday he is confident the sub-leader of the Abu Sayyaf will honor their “gentlemen’s agreement” and free one of the three members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) once the military has pulled back from Indanan town in Sulu.

“Mabuti naman si Albader sa bandang huli pumayag na ‘pag nawala ang military sa lugar nila eh papagayan niya na magbigay ng isa. Usapang lalaki iyan (Good thing [Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Albader Parad] agreed in the end that if the military pulls out they will give us one [of the three ICRC members],” Gordon told ABS-CBN’S morning show, “Umagang Kay Ganda.”

Gordon also said that he was sure he was talking to the real Parad on Wednesday afternoon, adding that he had been communicating with the Abu Sayyaf leader since ICRC workers Andreas Notter, Eugenio Vagni and Mary Jean Lacaba were kidnapped last January 15 in Patikul town.

“I was talking with Albader. We had [phone] conversations before,” the senator said. He added that some media personalities who had also been contacting Parad for updates on the three ICRC workers assured him that he was not talking to an impostor.

Gordon had announced that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) had agreed to pull back their troops from Parad’s lair in Indanan town in exchange of one of the three hostages.

The decision was reached in a closed-door meeting among Gordon, Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., AFP chief Gen. Alexander Yano, and other police and military officials held at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City. The meeting started Wednesday night and lasted until early Thursday morning.

Gordon announced that the repositioning of troops would be implemented “as soon as possible” to hasten the release of one hostage. He did not disclose further details on the timing of the release and troop repositioning.

The senator, meanwhile, said that aside from Parad’s assurance they have not agreed on clear details about the release. He said Parad did not tell him who among the three will be released first.

He added that after the release, Moro rebel leader Nur Misuari will meet with Parad in the hinterlands of Indanan and negotiate for the release of the two remaining hostages. He said the military has agreed to clear the way for Misuari.

Threat

Gordon told Umagang Kay Ganda that Parad admitted he was injured by troops in a series of clash in Barangay Timahu, Indanan. The fighting started early this week and raged on until Wednesday.

The senator said Parad called him and made a threat to behead one of the ICRC workers if the troops will continue attacking their lair.

The Abu Sayyaf rebels, notorious for kidnappings and linked to the regional Islamist group Jemaah Islamiyah, have a history of beheading captives.

In June 2001, American Guillermo Sobero was beheaded by another group of Abu Sayyaf on southern Basilan island after Manila turned down talks to release three American captives.

abs-cbnNEWS.com

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Published in: on March 19, 2009 at 1:36 pm  Comments Off on Gordon confident Abu leader will honor ‘gentlemen’s agreement’  
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