abu sayyaf: kidnap-for-homeland

25 March 2009

ces drilon was in and out in nine days.    the red cross workers swiss andreas notter, italian eugenio vagni and filipina jean lacaba have been in the hands of the abu sayyaf since jan 15, that’s two months and 10 days today and still no release in sight.

as it turns out, this is no ordinary abu sayyaf venture pala.   hindi ito tulad noong kay ces na kidnap-for-money raket, na even if the government was adamant kuno na hindi sila nagbabayad ng ransom, ever, kuno, still they didn’t stop the drilon family from paying up in the millions of bucks.

the red cross hostage-taking is different, radically different.   it is, so far, no less than a kidnap-for-homeland gimik.

INDANAN, Sulu: The Abu Sayyaf is not demanding a ransom for the release of three volunteers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) whom the group abducted on January 15.

Abu Ali, a senior leader within the Abu Sayyaf, told The Manila Times that what they want is an independent Bangsamoro homeland.

“I would like to announce to all our Muslim brothers in the Philippines that what we are doing is not for our self-vested interest but for the interest of the Muslim ummah [community] in order to give them freedom as a Bangsamoro people as well as their right to self-determination,” Ali said.

further, according to ding gagelonia atmidfield :

… a reliable source told luwaran.com/net that the ASG has already released their demands to the government for the release of the three staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) kidnapped in Sulu on January 15.

The ASG demands are: 1) For the military to pull out their troops in the entire province of Sulu; and 2) For the government to declare Jolo as an open port between Malaysia and Sulu to boast the economic development of the people of Western Mindanao.

tugon ng red cross, at balik ng abu sayyaf:

A representative of the Red Cross who asked not to be identified and who was with Gordon in Mindanao said the organization could give millions of pesos in livelihood assistance to Sulu so that the peace would be restored in that province.

But Abu Ali said they would not sacrifice their lives if they are only after livelihood assistance.

“If we are only fighting for our livelihood, we might as well lay down our arms and turn into businessmen or farmers to earn a living. But that is not our motive but rather we are fighting for our homeland,” he pointed out.

When asked why they must kidnap Red Cross volunteers, Ali said that is the only way his group can gain attention, especially from the Philippine government.

“No matter how loud we shout and cry even everyday, still the Philippine government would not listen to us.”

tugon ng muslim oppositionist lawyer adel tamano:

Tamano told The Manila Times that “enough is enough” for Abu Sayyaf and all these kidnappings should stop once and for all as it has dragged the names of peace-loving Muslim Filipinos. He also sent a message to the Abu Sayyaf that if they are fighting in the name of Islam and for the sake of Bangsamoro people, they must not perpetrate kidnapping at the expense of the innocent.

so it’s not true that the abu sayyaf guys are not asking for anything in return for the release of the hostages.   what’s true is that the palace chooses to ignore the kidnappers’ demand-for-homeland — it is simply not talked about, because how preposterous, how outrageous, how priceless?

instead the afp, on orders no doubt of the president or the-defense-secretary-who-would-be-president, has, with the help of visiting american technology, tracked down the whereabouts of the kidnappers and hostages and thrown a military cordon around the area, i suppose to limit the abu’s movements while the troops await the order to attack and rescue.   rescue and attack?

meanwhile of course civil society and the international red cross have been calling for a peacefully negotiated release of the hostages.   senator dick gordon, chair of the philippine red cross, had been negotiating with the abu via cellphone and the abu had agreed to release one hostage if the military would pull out from the area.   instead there was a firefight last march 16 — the abu say the afp started it, but the afp will neither confirm nor deny (tulad ng kano) — and nothing to show but dead and wounded on both sides, buti na lang the hostages were not harmed.

no wonder gordon is fit to be tied.    it doesn’t help, or maybe it does, that major general juancho sabban, commander of what seems a failed attack-and-rescue operation, has taken off for a week to speak at a columbia conference on anti-terrorism *lol*.   seriously though, what’s up with ourmilitary?   haven’t they been training all these last 8 years with the visiting american forces?   why  then do they continue to be such dismal failures at stopping the abu sayyaf, among other terrorist groups, and ending the reign of terrorism in sulu?

the latest is this abu sayyaf ultimatum:

Muslim militants holding captive three Red Cross workers in the southern Philippines have threatened to behead one of the hostages if government troops do not move out of their jungle hideouts by the end of the month, officials said Wednesday.

The latest threat was issued by Abu Sayyaf rebel leader Albader Parad on Monday as the military stepped up a blockade to prevent food and supplies from reaching the guerrillas in the hinterland of Indanan town on Jolo island, 1,000 kilometres south of Manila.

tugon ng militar:

Lt. Gen. Nelson Allaga, commander of military forces overseeing the operations in Sulu, said security forces will continue to maintain its presence in Indanan town and is closely working with Kasim and Sakur Tan, the provincial governor, who heads the government task force in-charge of securing the safe release of the hostages.

“We will maintain our presence in Indanan town,” he said, adding, any withdrawal of troops could pave the way for terrorists to escape and consolidate their forces.”

Tan also rejected Abu Sayyaf demands for a military pull out. “That is tantamount to surrendering the whole town to terrorists. I will not allow that to happen,” he said.

say naman ni afp spokesperson lt. col. ernesto torres over dzbb radio:

“Mahirap mag-rely sa kanilang sinasabi. They are asking for something in exchange for the freedom of the ICRC workers. Vinavalidate natin kung saan galing yung mga demand na ganiyan. Medyo malaki po yung hinihingi nila,” Torres said.

“Assuming it [demand] is true, ay parang pinullout natin yung tropa sa Sulu, which is not possible,” he added.

[It will be hard to rely on what they are saying. They are asking for something in exchange for the freedom of the ICRC workers. We are still verifying whether they are indeed making the demand. But assuming it is true, they are asking too much because it will be like pulling out our troops from the entire province.]

Torres said they also doubt that the Abu Sayyaf will fulfill its part of the “bargain” because last week, the bandits reneged on its agreement to release one of the ICRC volunteers after government forces repositioned its troops in Indanan town.

Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) chair Senator Richard Gordon last Saturday said Abu Sayyaf commander Albader Parad “is now asking for two-thirds” of Jolo – a larger portion of the island than originally agreed upon.

He said Parad also wanted the pullout of the armed barangay guards, which was not covered by the original agreement. Parad’s supposed demands are likely to be rejected by officials and the military, Gordon said.

so this crisis is not what djb over at FV says it is:

The months-long Red Cross hostage situation in Sulu is evolving into a major crisis as the government looks increasingly unable to do anything at all about it. It’s Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s ransom paying habits running right smack into the firm and unbending policy of the International Red Cross NEVER to pay ransoms in these terrorist kidnapping cases.

indeed, if it were money the abu sayyaf wants, the crisis would have long been resolved through a pay-up from some pocket or another, matapos lang, kahiyaan na.   but it’s not money that the abu want this time.   it would  seem na nag-evolve na ang abu sayyaf.   a la MILF, looking for a homeland, na ang drama nila.

interesting, di ba?   who kaya is behind this change-of-politics ng abu sayyaf?  what are the implications for the peace talks and the MILF’s campaign for a bangsamoro homeland?   will/can the MILF ignore the new abu sayyaf or will/can there be a joining of forces?

gma and her defense-secretary-who-would-be-president teodoro must be praying very hard na magbago sana ang isip at mag-settle na lang for millions of pesos ang abu sayyaf in aid of a dramatic rescue of the three humanitarian workers.   for the sakes of the three, i pray so too.

Posted in mindanao, terrorism, vfa

33 Responses to abu sayyaf: kidnap-for-homeland

  1. March 25, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    This is a question for Angela Stuart as Michael Dukakis…

    Could you honestly take this position if that was your sister or brother in the hands of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf?

    We do have a law against this sort of thing you know. And it isn’t as if the government could accede to the Abu Sayyaf’s demand, because we also have a Constitution.

    I’m very disappointed that this blog does not uphold the Rule of Law, and insTead abets a philosophy of victimology that can only lead to more and deadlier violence.

    If you can justify in your mind a heinous crime that grossly violates the Geneva Conventions, then you are no different than those alleged CIA torturers.

    Indeed if you can justify Kidnap for Ransom, Kidnap for Homeland, or just plain terrorist kidnapping, then you can also justify the ONE TON bomb that Dulmatin is preparing to explode, probably in Greenbelt where you or OUR friends like to hang out. You can justify a Mumbai-style attack on a crowded Cotabato or Cagayan de Oro bus station.

    This is moral torpitude of the most shameful order Angela. Please reconsider this most despicable position.

    Haven’t you been one of the Lynch Mob ulutating over the violation of Philippine sovereignty because of the Subic Rape case?

    Now you want to give away territory.

    Moral inconsistency is the hallmark of intellectual scoundrels.

    Up till now I have thought much more highly of you.

    This post creates reasonable doubt of that previous estimate.

    But don’t take it from me. Ask your friends and relatives and tell them you would be willing for them to be kidnapped, and then beheaded if the Philippines refuses to violate its own constitution.

  2. March 25, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Angela:

    Islam prohibits the targeting and killing of all civilians, especially women, children, the elderly, and religious clergy.

    The following verses in the Holy Qur’an touch on some of these issues:

    “O Prophet! say to those who are captives in your hands: If Allah findeth any good in your hearts, He will give you something better than what has been taken from you, and He will forgive you: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah 8, Verse 70).

    And they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive, (Saying), We feed you for the sake of Allah alone: no reward do we desire from you, nor thanks.” (Surah 76, Verses 8-9).

  3. March 25, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    This post proves that “liberals” are not at all what they portray themselves to be, that they bleeding hearts for people suffering. This is a cold-hearted, intellectualized position that ignores the fact that three human beings who had dedicated their lives to nothing but helping others and relieving human pain and suffering among the Bangsamoro people themselves, have been kidnapped by savages and will most probably end up with their heads as red as melons in a burlap bag of your weaving.

    The so called homeland demand is just a cover for the sudden realization that the IRC NEVER pays ransom.

    This is a setup for the coming ritualized decapitation, probably the One Armed Bandit Terrorist executioner, Radullan Sahiron, or whoever his stand in is nowadays. By making a demand they know the Philippine Government cannot give in to (unlike paying ransoms which it can do secretly) and knowing people like you will give them plenty of cover and rationalization, it looks like they are indeed getting ready to behead their hostages, because they won’t long afford to give the food shelter and lodging you so kindly commend them for.

    I shall return with pictures of what you seem to think is “freedom fighting” if and when the Sword (al-Harakatul al-Islamiya) falls, so that it may fall also on your shrivelled up conscience.

  4. March 25, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Say… I hope you aren’t one of those girl-bloggers that’s gonna go running off somewhere bawling your eyes out crying about how you’ve been bullied by some macho blogger on your own Comment Thread, are you? (I’ve been working on my sensitive side, you see…)

  5. March 25, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    DJB:

    Relax.You have made your point very clear.

    Let’s respect Angela’s position.

    EQ

  6. March 25, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    EQ,
    No! I ain’t gonna stop unless you tell me that you would be willing to say the same things she just has to the three Red Cross Workers and their suffering families. I wanna hear what Ms. Freedom Fighter has to say for herself. I will be civil and I never use cuss words, but “respect” is not owed to terrorist kidnappers or their immoral supporters.

  7. March 25, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    If Angela wants her first hundred-comment post, I’m willing to give her that cheap thrill right now tonight. You can stay and defend her if you like, but blogging is not a game nor is the human tragedy ongoing in Sulu a spectator sport.

    If she is an honest indio she will defend every stinking word she has published here, every hare-brained justification for intentionally inflicting mental and physical torture on utterly innocent non-combatants and blaming it on Colonialist Spain and Imperialist America.

  8. March 25, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    The instructions of Prophet Mohammad to Muslims who are forced to fight a war:

    “Do not kill women or children or non-combatants and do not kill old people or religious people.”

  9. March 25, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    EQ–
    I don’t think ASG can legitimately be tied to the deepest tenets of Islam, any more than Torquemada could be said to have been a true exponent of Christianity.

  10. March 25, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Yahweh said, simply: Thou shalt not kill!

  11. March 25, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Hmmm, we might have a long wait, so I better get something to listen to…
    The first is from the great classic work by Horacio de la Costa, S.J., History of the Jesuits in the Philippines (Harvard University Press, 1961). We take up the story in the year 1599 when thousands were taken as slaves in great raids by the Sultanates all over the Visayas and Luzon…
    (MP3) From History of the Jesuits in the Philippines (1581-1768)
    From Thomas McKenna, Muslim Rulers and Rebels, (Anvil Publishing House, 2000), here is the story of Islamic rule under the sultanates, the coming of Sharif Kabunsuan to Cotabato, and the “sacred inequality” under political Islam, the coming Spain and America…
    (MP3) Islamic Rule in Cotabato
    (MP3) European Impositions and the Myth of Morohood
    (MP3) The Moros of America

    But to discover the rotten root of ideas and “peace technologies” of which that lethal MOA on Ancestral Domain is the poisoned fruit, listen to (MP3) Astrid Tuminez of USIP. She’ll make your blood boil when you realize this was going to lead to war whether or not the MOA was signed!

  12. March 25, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    Well sleep tight my angela. But kindly and fervently say a lil prayer for Andreas Notter, Eugenio Vagni and Mary Jean Lacaba who’ve not had a wink of real sleep for two and half months and are probably being raped and abused and tortured as they are dragged through the jungles of the “homeland”, guarded by your Abu Sayyaf friend’s very young human shields, even as you sleep and dream of how wonderful their new guerilla technology is: Kidnap for Blood-and-boneland.

  13. March 25, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    Angela:

    Voltaire: I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.

    Don’t mind the macho man.

    EQ

  14. March 26, 2009 at 5:27 am

    Yeah, Angela, don’t you mind the Macho Man. this is about the Cold Heartless Intellectual woman.

  15. March 26, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Macho Man

    Rant long and loud
    Repeat ’til you’re blue in the face!

    But let’s respect Angela’s views.
    This HER space!

    Rant long and loud
    In YOUR space!

    EQ

  16. March 26, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    oh my *sigh* what an assault. only in the blogosphere. only from blogger bocobo.

    might it be that you’re just defensive (over!) because your own post on the red cross hostages had nothing on the kidnap-for-homeland angle, maybe because you weren’t really reading the news? you thought you knew it all na, after listening to gordon and biazon on strictly politics? how babaw your kaligayahan. you’re as bad as mainstream media.

    aren’t you the one who’s willing to let these hostages die, the rule of law must prevail, no matter what? my post, if you really read it, does not condone terrorism. all i pray for is a more realistic ransom for the sake of these three, though they be strangers to me. personal relationship need not even be a consideration here.

    in your book i start out a bleeding heart liberal and end up a cold heartless intellectual woman, all because i would not be provoked into responding at your level, pace, and volume. que macho. the least i expect is that you would have the grace not to denigrate me in my own house.

    i’d delete your comments but, no, maybe i’ll leave them as a monument to your amazing display of idiocy and utter lack of decency.

  17. March 27, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    EQ ;) salamat

  18. March 27, 2009 at 2:29 pm
    GabbyD

    @angela

    you say that you want a realistic ransom. should the state even support the notion of ransom? isn’t that abetting the act of hostage taking?

    are you in favor of giving ransom in general?

  19. March 27, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    hey gabbyd ;) caught some of dilg sec. ronnie puno’s presscon today. he was saying that of course they cannot give in to the abu sayyaf demand that the military pull out from most of jolo island in exchange for the hostages. and so they’re hoping for a more “reasonable” demand…

    should the state even support the notion of ransom? it would seem that a state like the philippines, where political unrest, poverty, and lawlessness obtain, has little choice in the matter.

    “Most kidnaps are carried out in order to obtain a ransom, and in most cases a ransom is paid, rescues are rare, largely because the authorities in most countries recognize that THE SAFETY OF THE VICTIM IS PARAMOUNT.” http://www.trojansecurities.com/trojan-kidnap-ransom.htm

    “Kidnapping for ransom is a diverse and evolving phenomenon, but is most common in countries with high levels of crime and corruption, poorly resourced or trained police personnel, a weak judiciary, and/or a history of political or social instability and conflict. In these countries kidnapping is often more profitable and less likely to lead to conviction than other generally high-yield crimes like bank robbery, and the growth of the phenomenon can be seen “as the logical outcome of [criminals] seeking new avenues to make quick profits from unlawful activities”. It is estimated that as many as 80% of all kidnappings for ransom occur in Latin America, but kidnapping appears to a growing problem in sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Balkans and the Middle East.

    “Motivations and modus operandi vary, but generally speaking there are two main kinds of kidnapping for ransom. These can be roughly categorised as

    “Criminal kidnapping, where the main motive is to obtain a ransom from the family or business of victims. This category includes instances where criminals take hostages as a shield to help them escape from the scene of a crime, or use them to obtain money or valuables, or the keys or secret codes needed to access areas where these are stored.

    “Political kidnapping, where the foremost objective is to further the political aims of a particular political group or movement. In this case, a ransom is usually demanded to obtain money for the group to fund their activities – tactics used by the Abu Sayyaf group in Pakistan and the Philippines, for example.” http://www.iss.co.za/pubs/CrimeQ/No.14/Pharoah.htm

    am i in favor of giving ransom in general? if there is no chance or little chance of a safe rescue by authorities, then yes i would favor negotiations for reasonable/realistic demands toward a safe release of hostages. “the safety of the victim is paramount.”

    unfortunately yes it’s like rewarding terrorism. but the other way, fighting abu sayyaf terrorism with state terrorism is a dead end, as our history shows. terrorism can’t be wiped out bush-style but only by addressing the roots of the problem, which is a global/national macho order that perpetuates poverty and inequity.

  20. March 27, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    this sudden shift in abu’s disposition is indeed interesting. maugong dati ang conspiracy theory na abu is one of those cia-sponsored terrorist orgs. your questions are actually provocative and tough.

    now, just what is so incomprehensible about the following statement that would make anybody think that angela is endorsing ransom? i just don’t get it. where is all that anger and suspicion coming from? i’m not even inclined to defend angela’s right to express her claims. it’s not as if she is calling for an armed revolution. what i do appreciate in this piece is her sociological take on the prospects of a rebel/terrorist group that is staking a new claim that seems to cohere with another rebel group—MILF— whose stakes are far more recognized than the former. yung pagbanggit sa ransom is really, as i read it, and i think i’m right, angela’s way of saying that the government will have a more difficult time now as it cannot drop labels such as “terrorist” just like that kasi nga may mga bagong stakes in the game itong abu– whether they mean that or not does not matter, ang point, they are making use of another strategy. now the government has to come up with new ways of convincing people na “ok lang naman tayong lahat dapat if it weren’t for all these screwy rebel groups. but they just won’t stop. now give us a little more time and we’ll kill them all.” i really don’t know how effective that has been. ang point, the government should come up with a whole new way of categorizing its enemies now that they seem to have found a new way of repackaging themselves. instead of bullying angela, why can’t other people na lang who are obviously so for the status quo help the government by coming up with new suggestions. you are wasting your time betraying your reading and comprehension skills. anyway, here’s what’s delicious about angela’s piece:

    “indeed, if it were money the abu sayyaf wants, the crisis would have long been resolved through a pay-up from some pocket or another, matapos lang, kahiyaan na. but it’s not money that the abu want this time. it would seem na nag-evolve na ang abu sayyaf. a la MILF, looking for a homeland, na ang drama nila.

    interesting, di ba? who kaya is behind this change-of-politics ng abu sayyaf? what are the implications for the peace talks and the MILF’s campaign for a bangsamoro homeland? will/can the MILF ignore the new abu sayyaf or will/can there be a joining of forces?

    gma and her defense-secretary-who-would-be-president teodoro must be praying very hard na magbago sana ang isip at mag-settle na lang for millions of pesos ang abu sayyaf in aid of a dramatic rescue of the three humanitarian workers. for the sakes of the three, i pray so too.”

  21. March 27, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    hey sarah ;) delicious ka rin for bringing up that rumored CIA connection. di ko binanggit dahil wala akong mahanap na link, haha. alam mo naman, baka sabihin nila i’m making it up.

  22. March 28, 2009 at 9:30 am

    arnold molina azurin has a whole discourse on that. he’s been doing empirical research on mindanao and he’s been following the insurgency problem in the area. he even delivered a conference paper on the topic in the US. and then he was approached by someone who introduced himself as a former agent. very cinematic ano? do you know arnold? (not my arnold ha, chika. although that other arnold–mine– is also into this stuff, we should all get together in a mega chika conference!). he’s got a lot of fascinating and edifying things to say about mindanao etc. and he is unstoppable! i’ll ask if he has something written or published on the topic and i’ll send you the link or the article. hey, glad you did not erase djb’s comments…they are fascinatingly distasteful, i super enjoy them (enjoyment in the french sense as in pain and pleasure!! hehehe.)

  23. March 28, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    omg what am i saying, namalikmata yata ako. hindi, natikbalang! ang dami palang link, hahaha.

  24. March 28, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    re abu sayyaf-c.i.a connection. senator nene pimentel’s privilege speech july 2000 http://www.nenepimentel.org/speeches/20000802.shtml

  25. March 28, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Angela,
    So you think you have a scoop and that I reacted because you reported and supported the Kidnap for Homeland idea and that I didn’t?

    Well take a look at this Philippine Commentary post from February 18, 2009 — five whole weeks before this March 25 pro-terrorist screed you have just published.

    Kidnap-for-Territory: A New Terrorist Tactic

    Well Angela I’m calm now. But I am even more appalled, nay disgusted, at your lack of simply humanity or even womanity.

    We must have a good palaver with you right now about this terrorist thingy.

  26. March 28, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Time is almost up for the three Red Cross workers, many people reckon.

    We however, have a life yet to live, rich with possibility, and the potential to do good or to do evil.

    I assert that your position abets further evil, for both sides, for all sides. For everyone.

    A human head is a terrible thing to waste for such an abstract concept as a homeland.

    And what do you know of the concept that might be in Al Bader Parad’s head?

    And what is it doing in yours?

    I am a virus hunter you see. That is what I do as blogger. I hope you will indulge my attempts at a forensic diagnosis of your brain on the subject of terrorism.

  27. March 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    OIC what musta happened here now. You tuned into this thing a bit late, didn’t you? During the first two weeks of the kidnapping incident talk of a huge ransom was rife on AM talk radio. Back then the MILF was brokering, with Mohagher Iqbal calling into his favorite early morning shows on MM BB RMN. I would say it was almost a month into the thing when the Kidnap for territory, now Kidnap for Homeland stuff took over from the Kidnap for Nothing official line, code for big ransom of course. The three were taken Jan 15, I reported on Kidnap for territory Feb. 18 picking up from a PDI news story and opined it was a change due to the IRC’s firm no ransom policy.

    Your scoop was 5 five weeks late and you probably do not listen to AM radio very much otherwise you would have known the initial demands floated by Iqbal were for $5 million. Each.

  28. March 28, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Correction, it was the Noon time news on ABSCBN News ANC on or around Feb. 18 that Al Bader Parad was reported as saying they did not want ransom, but wanted the troops to surrender territory belonging to Bangsamoro and move out. I remember it was the divine Ms. Pinky Webb reporting. She also interviewed Dick Gordon that day, who kept repeating that it was a serious Geneva Convention crime and that the International Red Cross would never pay ransom to terrorist kidnappers.

  29. March 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Angela,
    Through your connections with the Abu Sayyaf, kindly pass on this urgent appeal from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross:

    Philippines: ICRC president calls for hostages to remain unharmed
    Manila / Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is appealing to the Abu Sayyaf Group, which is holding Mary Jean Lacaba, Eugenio Vagni and Andreas Notter in the southern Philippines, to ensure that the three remain unharmed and to let them go immediately.

    The appeal is in response to threats made by the abductors that they will kill one of the ICRC employees on 30 March if their demand for a pull back of troops goes unmet.

    “I am very concerned by the threats of the kidnappers,” said the ICRC’s president, Jakob Kellenberger. “I am asking for their safe, unconditional and immediate release.”

    “The sole purpose of Mary Jean, Eugenio and Andreas’ work is to give help to those in need. It is impossible to understand what the kidnappers could possibly achieve by hurting them. Harming a humanitarian aid worker cannot be justified under any ideology or religious law.”

    Since the abduction on 15 January, the ICRC and the Philippine National Red Cross have been working vigorously to resolve this ordeal. On 27 March, Mr Kellenberger spoke with Philippine Executive Secretary, Eduardo Ermita, the country’s second-highest ranking official, and asked him to ensure that the authorities do everything in their power to save the lives of the hostages, while avoiding any action that could put the ICRC staff at risk.

    “The ICRC’s priority is that Mary Jean, Eugenio and Andreas remain safe and that they be able to return to their families, who miss them desperately. Their children, parents, siblings, spouses, friends and colleagues will not give up hope of seeing them again soon,” added Mr Kellenberger.

    For further information, please contact:
    Anastasia Isyuk, ICRC Manila, tel: +639 1890 72125
    Anna Nelson, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 20 63 or +41 79 217 32 64
    Carla Haddad Mardini, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 05 or +41 79 217 32 26

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