ICRC to RP: Consider Abu Sayyaf demands

The International Committee of the Red Cross on Thursday appealed to the Philippine government to “consider the kidnappers’ demands” and “refrain from further military operations” that could jeopardize the safety of three ICRC workers held captive by Abu Sayyaf bandits.

In a press release posted on the ICRC Web site, Alain Aeschlimann, ICRC head of operations for East Asia, South-East Asia and the Pacific, reiterated their call to the Philippine government to “do everything in their power to save the lives of the hostages and not take any action” that could put their colleagues at risk, specifically by refraining from further military action.

“In the interest of our three staff, the ICRC asks the authorities to consider the kidnappers’ demands regarding the position of troops,” Aeschlimann was quoted as saying.

“We are extremely concerned about the fate of our colleagues. Their safety is of paramount importance,” he said.

The ICRC also appealed to the captors of ICRC workers Marie Jean Lacaba, Eugenio Vagni, and Andreas Notter to “avoid any action” that could endanger the lives of the three.

“Following the kidnappers’ renewed threats, the ICRC once again appeals to the abductors’ sense of humanity and asks them to avoid taking any action that could endanger the lives of Mary Jean, Eugenio and Andreas,” the statement read.

Families contacted Sunday

The ICRC also reported that the captive workers were able to speak with their families on Sunday, and made contact with the ICRC on Monday.

“Our colleagues are aware of the latest threats and demands made by the abductors. This has obviously increased the stress and hardship they are experiencing, especially following the tragic events of last week,” Aeschlimann said.

“I cannot stress enough that Mary Jean, Eugenio and Andreas are going through an extremely difficult time. They are tired, both physically and emotionally. We continue to hope that this ordeal will be over as soon as possible and that they will be back with their families,” he said.

The ICRC has also reacted to the appeal of Notter’s family to the Swiss government to “do more” to help free the three captives.

“The ICRC is doing everything it can to resolve this crisis. There are a lot of people working behind the scenes to make that happen and we are grateful for all genuine efforts to find a solution. We are in regular contact with the relevant authorities in Bern, Manila and Rome and they are kept abreast of developments,” the statement read.

“We fully understand the families’ outrage that this crisis has gone on for so long. It is perfectly understandable that the families of Mary Jean, Andreas and Eugenio would want to do everything in their power to get their loved ones back. Any parent, spouse, child or sibling in their situation would feel the same way,” it read.

Thursday marked the 71st day in captivity of the three workers.


Published in: on March 27, 2009 at 12:29 am  Comments Off on ICRC to RP: Consider Abu Sayyaf demands  
Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: