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.

The statement said the ICRC’s last information on Vagni came from freed Swiss hostage Andreas Notter, who last saw the 62-year-old Italian on April 16, two days before he himself regained his freedom.

“From what Andreas tells us, Eugenio is suffering from a hernia which is making it difficult for him to walk. As far as we know, Eugenio has not been examined by a doctor. We do not know how serious his hernia is and for how long he can keep going without an operation. It goes without saying that we are very worried about these unknowns,” Aeschlimann said.

“We can only hope that his abductors understand that he needs urgent medical care and that nobody will take any action that may put his life in danger. As of today, he has spent a hundred days in captivity, and we are sparing no efforts to see him released as soon as possible,” he said.

The ICRC official did not comment on the reports of the military’s plan to rescue Vagni, saying only that they were “aware” of it and were coordinating with the authorities.

Aeschlimann said the family of Vagni, who, along with Notter and Filipino Mary-Jean Lacaba, was abducted on Jan. 15 in Jolo, is worried sick for him. “For Eugenio’s family, the nightmare of this abduction continues. His baby daughter is growing fast, and she has not seen her father for a hundred days,” he said.

Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer

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