ICRC renews appeals for Vagni’s release

MANILA, Philippines – “There will be no rest for us until this crisis is resolved,” declared the regional head of the International Committee of the Red Cross on Friday as he appealed anew for the release of Italian aid worker Eugenio Vagni on the 100th day of his captivity in the hands of alleged Abu Sayyaf extremists in Sulu.

Vagni is in dire need of medical attention, ICRC Asia-Pacific delegation chief Alain Aeschlimann pointed out in a statement.

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Published in: on April 24, 2009 at 1:29 pm  Comments Off on ICRC renews appeals for Vagni’s release  

No ransom on releases of 2 Red Cross workers

MANILA, Philippines—No ransom was paid for the release of the two volunteer workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who were held hostage by suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf groups, a military official said Wednesday.

“In order to allay speculations about ransom, I would like to emphasize here that as far as we know, no ransom nor board and lodging fee was paid for the release of both Miss [Mary Jean] Lacaba and Mr. [Andreas] Notter,” said Civil Relations Service Brigadier General Gaudencio Pangilinan.

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Published in: on April 22, 2009 at 12:37 pm  Comments Off on No ransom on releases of 2 Red Cross workers  

Kidnapped Italian Red Cross worker alive

ZAMBOANGA–An Italian Red Cross worker held by Muslim extremists in the Philippines is still alive, a senior police official said Sunday, amid growing concern about the hostage’s health.

Philippine security forces are on heightened alert after the kidnappers tried to flee during a successful attempt to free another hostage on Saturday, provincial police chief Senior Superintendent Jularisim Kasim said.

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Published in: on April 19, 2009 at 11:36 am  Comments Off on Kidnapped Italian Red Cross worker alive  

Swiss hostage walks free

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Swiss hostage Andreas Notter is free, but it remains unclear whether he was rescued by government troops or released by his Abu Sayyaf captors.

Notter himself told reporters yesterday in Jolo, Sulu that he was “still a little bit confused how it happened” because “everything happened very quickly.”

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Published in: on April 19, 2009 at 12:20 am  Comments Off on Swiss hostage walks free  

Another ICRC hostage freed

ZAMBOANGA CITY – One of the two remaining Red Cross hostages was freed by his abductors in Sulu Friday, officials said Saturday.

Swiss Andreas Notter was freed Friday evening, Lieutenant Colonel Edgard Arevalo, spokesman of Task Force ICRC said.

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Published in: on April 18, 2009 at 8:33 am  Comments Off on Another ICRC hostage freed  

Release of another hostage seen

DIGOS CITY – Another worker of the International Committee of the Red Cross still held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf group is expected to be released soon, officials said yesterday.

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro said the government was expecting the bandit group to either release Italian Eugenio Vagni anytime soon or have him checked by a medical team.

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Published in: on April 18, 2009 at 12:06 am  Comments Off on Release of another hostage seen  

Ulama asked to help free 2 Red Cross workers

MANILA, Philippines—A senior Muslim cleric has been called in to help negotiate the release of two Red Cross workers held captive for three months on Jolo Island, Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan said Wednesday.

The move came amid news that the health of one of the hostages has deteriorated in the Indanan forest where their captors have been cornered.

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Published in: on April 16, 2009 at 5:59 am  Comments Off on Ulama asked to help free 2 Red Cross workers  

Govt to allow pullout for 1 ICRC hostage

MANILA, Philippines— With the Abu Sayyaf’s renewed demand of a troop pullout, Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno on Monday said that government would only grant another pullback of police, military, and civilian forces when guaranteed a release of a second hostage.

“If there is any request for a pullback that is going to be directed to a release of a hostage, then we are willing to consider that because if what they want is to be able to release the hostages to ensure their own safety, we are willing to bend over backwards to do that. But not pullback or pullout for the sake of pullout,” Puno said.

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Published in: on April 13, 2009 at 9:52 am  Comments Off on Govt to allow pullout for 1 ICRC hostage  

RP may tap VFA to rescue Sulu hostages

MANILA, Philippines—Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. Sunday said the Philippines could bank on its Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and other pacts with the United States for help in its efforts to rescue people abducted by the Abu Sayyaf, including two foreign aid workers held in Jolo, Sulu.

“We can make use of them,” Pimentel said of the agreements between Manila and Washington in an interview over dzBB radio. He made the suggestion in replying to a question concerning lawmakers’ calls for a review of the VFA.

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Published in: on April 13, 2009 at 1:29 am  Comments Off on RP may tap VFA to rescue Sulu hostages  

Use VFA to free ICRC workers – Pimentel

MANILA — Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said on Sunday that the Philippines could use its defense pacts with the United States such as the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to get help in its ongoing bid to secure the release of two foreign aid workers being held by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.

“We can make use of them,” Pimentel said candidly of the defense pacts between Manila and Washington, but made it clear he only wanted US technological help and not combat participation against the Abu Sayyaf.

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Published in: on April 12, 2009 at 6:42 pm  Comments Off on Use VFA to free ICRC workers – Pimentel