Swiss gov’t appeals to captors of 3 hostages

GENEVA—The Swiss government on Wednesday appealed to Islamic militants on the Philippines island of Jolo to spare the lives of three international Red Cross workers kidnapped in January.

“We appeal to your sense of humanity. Please spare the lives of the hostages,” the Federal Council said in a public statement.

“The Federal Council is deeply concerned about their situation and the threats that have been made to their lives.

“Switzerland will not cease in its efforts and to work in close cooperation with the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross), the governments of the Philippines and Italy to find a peaceful outcome to this hostage taking.”

The appeal came after an official in the Philippines said troops had returned to positions around a jungle area on the southern Philippines island and could move in at any time to rescue the three hostages.

ICRC staffers Mary Jean Lacaba of the Philippines, Swiss national Andreas Notter and Italy’s Eugenio Vagni, were seized during a humanitarian mission on the island on January 15.

The Abu Sayyaf group have threatened to behead one the hostages unless Philippine security forces yielded control of the island to them by the last day in March.

Philippines Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno said that latest intelligence information indicated the three were still alive a day after the expiry of the deadline.

The Swiss government emphasized that the three had gone to Jolo to provide humanitarian help for local people.

“We implore the kidnappers to show compassion and to release Mary Jean, Andreas and Eugenio without further delay and in good health,” the statement said.

“The three hostages have dedicated their lives to the cause of peace and to helping the most disadvantaged people in the world,” it added.

Agence France-Presse

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Published in: on April 2, 2009 at 6:14 am  Comments Off on Swiss gov’t appeals to captors of 3 hostages  
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