Sulu gov confirms Red Cross hostages still alive

Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan said he has received word that all three Red Cross hostages of the Abu Sayyaf are alive.

Speaking to ANC’s Strictly Politics, Tan said he has validated a report by his sources that the bandit group did not carry out its threat to behead one of the hostages if the military does not pull out all its troops from Sulu.

Tan added that one of his sources was able to talk to the Abu Sayyaf after the 2:00 p.m. deadline on Tuesday lapsed.

Tan however admitted that neither he nor any of his sources were able to get a proof of life.

Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba, Italian Eugenio Vagni and Swiss Andreas Notter have been in captivity since January 15.

In another interview on ANC’s Prime News, Tan confirmed they are cracking down on Abu Sayyaf supporters in the province.

Tan placed Sulu under emergency rule after the deadline lapsed.

“Sympathizers and supporters of [the] Abu Sayyaf should be taken in and investigated,” Tan said.

On Tuesday night, Philippine Red Cross chairman Sen. Richard Gordon told ABS-CBN that Sulu Rep. Yusop Jikiri was able to talk to another Abu Sayyaf leader, Abu Ali alias Dr. Abu, who agreed to extend the 2 p.m. deadline and release one of the hostages in exchange for the pullout of 800 Marines in Sulu.

The military rejected the demand, a move, Gordon said, that had President Arroyo’s support.

Gordon said he also has no independent verification that the hostages are alive.

Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 7:40 am  Comments Off on Sulu gov confirms Red Cross hostages still alive  
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