Kidnapped ICRC worker: Hurry up, time’s running out

Kidnapped Red Cross worker Mary Jean Lacaba is pleading to the people working for her and two other volunteers’ release to hurry up because they are running out of time.

“Sana kung ano ang maitutulong nila, gawin na nila ngayon kasi paliit nang paliit, pa-shorten nang pa-shorten ang time, iyong oras. Pakisabi sa kanila kung sana may maitulong na sila o sa gobyerno o kung sino man, sana poi bilis-bilisan na nila kung may maitutulong sila,” Lacaba told ABS-CBN’s Ces Drilon in an interview on Wednesday.

Lacaba confirmed that Abu Sayyaf leader Albader Parad, who has been holding her and two Red Cross workers Andreas Notter and Eugenio Vagni captive for the past 70 days, had told them personally what he would do to them if the military continues to refuse his demand to pull back.

“Ang reaction ko talaga iyak, tapos iyong dalawa kong kasama ‘di na nag-imik. ‘Di na kami makakain ,” she said, describing her reaction after Parad talked to them.

In a separate interview also on Wednesday, Parad told ABS-CBN News that informed Lacaba, Notter and Vagni what he would do if the military would refuse to pull away from their hideout in Indanan town in Sulu province.

“Kinausap ko sila sabi ko sa kanila ang gagawin ko kapag hindi nag-pullout ang military,” he said, adding that the three workers were obviously shocked after the conversation.

During the interview, the bandit leader said the Abu Sayyaf group’s hierarchy has approved his plan to behead one of the three hostages if the military pullout does not happen.

Parad, meanwhile, assured that he will abide by the “gentleman’s agreement” he made with Red Cross Philippines chairman Richard Gordon to free one of the hostages once the military orders the pullout.

The Abu Sayyaf leader said he wants the military to pull back to Tagbak in Indanan town and Patikul town.

The military believes Parad’s group and the three hostages are somewhere between Indanan and Parang town.

Troops won’t move

Despite the appeal, Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo of the military’s hostage crisis committee said troops deployed to rescue the three workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross will not give in to Parad’s demands.

Arevalo said pulling away from Parad’s lair would give them the chance to “regroup, refurbish war material and kidnap more civilians.”

“We shall maintain forces in our presently held positions,” he said, adding that the troops’ position is “far enough to allow the crisis committee to do its part, but near enough to maintain the pressure on the terrorists and break their will to fight and eventually release the victims.”

Meanwhile, Lacaba also told ABS-CBN News that food has become scarce in the area where the Abu Sayyaf bandits are keeping them.

She added that she and the other hostages are living in fear because an armed encounter between their captors and the military is always possible.

Last week, the military was able to catch up on Parad’s group and engaged them in a two-day firefight. The military had announced reports that Parad could have been killed in the encounter, but the bandit leader immediately belied the claim and said that he was only injured.

After the failed attempt to rescue the hostages and capture Parad’s group, the military set up food blockades around the bandits’ lair in Indanan town.

Published in: on March 26, 2009 at 6:22 pm  Comments Off on Kidnapped ICRC worker: Hurry up, time’s running out  
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