Still no word from Abu Sayyaf; Sulu gov appeals to group’s conscience

MANILA, Philippines – The head of the government’s crisis committee on Monday appealed to the conscience of the Abu Sayaff as the deadline for the group’s threat to behead one of three International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) hostages nears.

In an interview over radio dzBB, Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan said not one of the three Red Cross volunteers should be hurt as they went to the southern Philippine province of Sulu to aid Filipinos there.

“Sana po nga naman makonsensya naman sila dahil ito pong mga taga-ICRC ay pumunta sa ating lalagawigan para tumulong sa ating kababayan [I hope they will be moved by their conscience as these ICRC workers went to our province to help our countrymen],” Tan said.

As of noon time, the crisis committee still has not gotten any word from the bandits over the hostages’ fate, Tan said.

“Sa ngayon wala pa tayong update sa kanila maliban dun sa maluwag na at malawak na ang kanilang nagagalawan [As of now we still do not have an update from them except that they are now free to move around a wider area],” he said.

Since January 15, the Abu Sayyaf has been holding hostage Italian Eugenio Vagni, Swiss Andreas Notter, and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba after the three volunteers inspected a water sanitation project in Jolo.

The bandits are demanding a pull out of government troops from Jolo. Government officials have agreed to pull back government forces around an Abu Sayyaf stronghold to give the bandits 130 square kilometers (91 square miles) of hilly jungle to maneuver near Indanan town.

Tan, however, was quoted as saying in earlier reports that he was told by Abu Sayyaf Commander Albader Parad that the bandits want a total pull-out of government troops.

Tan further quoted Parad as saying they would not release any hostage with only a limited withdrawal of more than 1,000 Marines, policemen, and armed village guards.

Earlier in the day, Sulu Vice Governor Lady Ann Sahidulla said that the crisis committee could only wait for the bandits to “verify” the pullout of government troops from Indanan town.


Published in: on March 30, 2009 at 12:30 pm  Comments Off on Still no word from Abu Sayyaf; Sulu gov appeals to group’s conscience  
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