Militants to free Red Cross hostage

MANILA  – – Islamic militants in the Philippines have agreed to free one of three Red Cross hostages and the military has agreed to “reposition” its troops to allow a transfer, a local Red Cross official said.

Senator Richard Gordon, the head of the local Red Cross chapter, told AFP that he had secured the commitment from Abu Sayyaf leader Albader Parad late Wednesday.

He then held emergency meetings with top defence and military officials.


“I talked to him last night. The military is going to re-deploy out of the area so that one of our associates can get out,” he said.

“Soon as they pull out, the ICRC individual is going to go out,” he added, referring to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

He said it was not clear who among the ICRC workers — Mary Jean Lacaba of the Philippines, Andreas Notter of Switzerland and Eugenio Vagni of Italy — would be first out, but it would be the one in most need of medical attention.

Previous reports have said Vagni, 62, has a heart condition.

Gordon said it was also unclear when the actual handover would take place, but stressed troops were now preparing to move out.

As soon as one hostage is freed, a former Muslim separatist leader will act as a negotiator for further talks to get the other two out, Gordon added.

Agence France Presse

Published in: on March 19, 2009 at 5:07 pm  Comments Off on Militants to free Red Cross hostage  
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