Puno: Abu Sayyaf wants all troops out in 24 hours

Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno said on Monday the Abu Sayyaf has given a new demand for all government troops in major towns in Sulu to withdraw within 24 hours.

The Abu Sayyaf gave the government until 2 o’clock of Tuesday afternoon to heed their demand or they will behead one of its three Red Cross hostages.

In a press conference, Puno reiterated the government’s position that it cannot accede to the Abu Sayyaf’s demand for government forces to virtually abandon the province.

Meanwhile, Malacañang said it is doing all it can to secure the release of Red Cross workers held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu since January 15.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said the government is appealing to the Abu Sayyaf’s “sense of humanity”.

Over the weekend, the Abu Sayyaf refused to free one of the three hostages even with an assurance from the government that troops in Sulu will pull back to a certain extent.

Sulu Governor Sakur Tan said the Abu Sayyaf holding Mary Jean Lacaba, Andreas Notter and Eugenio Vagni hostage say nothing less than a total military pullout will do.

“Napagkasunduan nila kailangan total pullout ang government forces, hindi lang AFP kundi pati mga police auxillary, pati Philippine National Police,” Tan said.

“Sa tingin naman natin ay medyo very unreasonable na po ang hinihiling nila, parang gusto nila pa-surrender ang buong probinsya. Pero gayunpaman, pinagbigyan ng ating pamahalaan at Task Force ICRC na i-pullout ang mga government forces malapit sa kinaroronan nila,” he added.


Published in: on March 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm  Comments Off on Puno: Abu Sayyaf wants all troops out in 24 hours  
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