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Sulu Hostages ‘Proof Of Life’ Sought

April 2, 2009


There is yet no word about the three Red Cross workers now in the 76th day of their captivity at the hands of Albader Parad’s Abu Sayyaf unit in Sulu.

Philippine Red Cross and government officials are saying they believe Mary Jean Lacaba, Andres Notter, and Eugenio Vagni have not been harmed physically but they need definitive “proof of life.”

The uncertainly has, however, been compounded by the decision of the military and police to shut down cellular telephone communications in Sulu as their forces were sent back to enforce the earlier containment perimeter against Parad’s group.

nylsBut veteran journalist Arlyn Dela Cruz, citing unnamed sources, told this writer that “the hostages were spotted to have moved into the mountainous and thickly forested area of Parang, Sulu after managing to slip through the military-police cordon.”

“As in previous abductions in Sulu the victims were not initially held by Parad’s group but ended up in their custody after being held by other elements,” Arlyn Dela Cruz told this writer.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer has this account:

Both the Swiss and Italian governments have now also issued direct appeals for the “unconditional release of the humanitarian aid workers” who were snatched from Jolo on January 15.


We appeal to your sense of humanity. Please spare the lives of the hostages. 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 co-operation 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. We implore the kidnappers to show compassion and to release Mary Jean, Andreas and Eugenio without further delay and in good health. The three hostages have dedicated their lives to the cause of peace and to helping the most disadvantaged people in the world.


Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano on Tuesday pleaded with the kidnappers of three Red Cross workers, including an Italian, in the Philippines to show mercy instead of “hate and intolerance.”

Napolitano called for the “unconditional release” of the hostages to “bring an end to a situation that has provoked the anxiety of the hostages’ families as well as that of Italian and international public opinion.”

He urged in the statement that “humanitarian considerations take precedent over hate and intolerance.”

One new element is the revelation of Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno: “Apparently a Singaporean has been moving along with the group and serving as their interpreter.”

Puno said the Abu Sayyaf had also apparently contacted Vagni’s and Notter’s relatives in Europe and he suspected the Singaporean “is serving this purpose.”

Parad’s heavily armed group is said to number from 50 to 80 men and were last seen in a video obtained by ABS-CBN network on the 25th of March.

With mobile phone communications to them now cut off what happens next in these continually tense hours and days is anyone’s guess.

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