Puno suspects captors holding on to ICRC workers for money

MANILA, Philippines – Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno on Saturday said that he suspects the Abu Sayyaf is holding on to the two foreign Red Cross workers in the hopes of extorting money from their families.

“Our foreign humanitarians are probably more likely targets for extortion by them,” said Puno in a report aired over Q’s Balitanghali.

Filipino hostage Mary Jean Lacaba was freed by the Abu Sayyaf late Thursday in the town of Indanan, Sulu after more than 70 days in captivity.

Two other Red Cross workers captive – Swiss national Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni — are still being held in Sulu’s jungle.

Puno was hopeful, however, that the two foreigners would also be released soon.

“The release of one I think is an important sign of a willingness to release the other two,” he said.

Authorities are reportedly continuing their communication with the Abu Sayyaf.

Meanwhile, Puno confirmed that Singaporean bomb expert Mawiya is just standing in as the interpreter of Albader Parad, leader of the Abu Sayyaf faction.

His role, the secretary said, is just coordinating with the families of Notter and Vagni.

Kimberly Jane T. Tan, GMANews.TV

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Published in: on April 4, 2009 at 1:41 pm  Comments Off on Puno suspects captors holding on to ICRC workers for money  
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