Sabban pushes nego for Red Cross victims

Marines Maj. Gen. Juancho Sabban said negotiators should take advantage of the “lull in operations” against the kidnappers of three members of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Sulu province.

“There is a lull in the operations and that should serve as an opportunity for others to negotiate,” Sabban told reporters as he was boarding a commercial flight at the Zamboanga City International Airport.

Sabban is leaving the country to speak in a counter-terrorism seminar in Colombia. He said he would only be away for a week.

The Task Force Comet commander, meanwhile, assured that the military’s efforts to rescue ICRC workers — Andreas Notter, Eugenio Vagni and Mary Jean Lacaba — is in still place even on his absence.

He said Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Nelson Allaga have been asked by the military leadership to supervise the operations in Sulu while he is away.

Sabban’s trip abroad in the middle of the task force’s efforts to rescue the kidnapped ICRC workers from the group of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Albader Parad came after he and Red Cross Philippine Chairman Richard Gordon engaged in a verbal battle.

Gordon had blamed Sabban for refusing to “reposition” the task force’s members and give way for the release of one of the captured aid workers.

Moro leader Nur Misuari was supposed to enter into negotiations with Parad’s group after the release of the ICRC worker.

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro on Monday clarified that Sabban’s leave had nothing to do with his verbal tussle with Gordon.

For his part, Gordon denied that he had something to do with the military commander’s sudden trip abroad.

Jewel Reyes, ABS-CBN Zamboanga

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Published in: on March 24, 2009 at 4:46 pm  Comments Off on Sabban pushes nego for Red Cross victims  
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