Archive for the ‘kidnapping’ Category

ICRC worker Mary Jean Lacaba freed by Abu Sayyaf bandits

April 3, 2009

After 78 days in captivity, Filipina hostage Mary Jean Lacaba has been freed by the Abu Sayyaf kidnappers. The fates of two of her companions, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) humanitarian workers Andreas Notter of Switzerland and Eugenio Vagni of Italy are not known.

Though Alain Aeschlimann, regional operations chief for the ICRC, disclosed he doesn’t have information on the condition of the two other hostages, Foreign Minister of Italy Franco Frattini was reported to have said the two hostages are alive.

Thirty-seven year old Lacaba who endured the hostage ordeal since her abduction on January 15, 2009 was abandoned by the Islamic extremists on April 2, 2009. The ICRC worker was fetched in Barangay Palig in the border of Indanan and Parang at about 7 P.M. and was brought to a hospital for evaluation and treatment.

The release of Lacaba comes when government authorities prepare to evacuate an estimated 21,000 residents who may be caught in a crossfire if confrontations between the bandits and the military forces occur. (Photo Credit: AFP/ ICRC) =0=

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ICRC worker Mary Jean Lacaba freed by Abu Sayyaf bandits

April 3, 2009

After 78 days in captivity, Filipina hostage Mary Jean Lacaba has been freed by the Abu Sayyaf kidnappers. The fates of two of her companions, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) humanitarian workers Andreas Notter of Switzerland and Eugenio Vagni of Italy are not known.

Though Alain Aeschlimann, regional operations chief for the ICRC, disclosed he doesn’t have information on the condition of the two other hostages, Foreign Minister of Italy Franco Frattini was reported to have said the two hostages are alive.

Thirty-seven year old Lacaba who endured the hostage ordeal since her abduction on January 15, 2009 was abandoned by the Islamic extremists on April 2, 2009. The ICRC worker was fetched in Barangay Palig in the border of Indanan and Parang at about 7 P.M. and was brought to a hospital for evaluation and treatment.

The release of Lacaba comes when government authorities prepare to evacuate an estimated 21,000 residents who may be caught in a crossfire if confrontations between the bandits and the military forces occur. (Photo Credit: AFP/ ICRC) =0=

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Fighting between government troops versus Abu Sayyaf kidnappers brings 6 dead

March 17, 2009

After unsuccessful negotiations to free the three International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC,) humanitarian workers who were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu, Philippines, a firefight erupted between the rebels and government forces bringing death to at least 3 kidnappers and 3 military men and hurting at least 19 soldiers. Albader Parad, the leader of the notorious kidnappers with links to Al-Qaeda was suspected to have been wounded in the gunfight.

The bloody encountry was sparked by armed Abu Sayyaf bandits who tried to cross the cordon set in the area by government forces.

Airing concern that the hostages— Swiss Andreas Notter, Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba and Italian Eugenio Vagni must not be harmed, the head of ICRC Southeast Asia-Pacific operations Alain Aeschlimann said, “”Their safety is paramount. We repeat our call that no action should be taken that could put (their lives) in danger,”—-Yahoo News/ AP (03/17/09, Gomez, J)

The kidnapped victims have been held since January 2009 by the Islamic extremists who seek the withdrawal of government troops from the area and insinuate on a payment of P50 million ransom. =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Abu Sayyaf kidnappers asks for P50 milllion ransom for ICRC workers” Posted by mesiamd at 3/12/2009

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Fighting between government troops versus Abu Sayyaf kidnappers brings 6 dead

March 17, 2009

After unsuccessful negotiations to free the three International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC,) humanitarian workers who were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu, Philippines, a firefight erupted between the rebels and government forces bringing death to at least 3 kidnappers and 3 military men and hurting at least 19 soldiers. Albader Parad, the leader of the notorious kidnappers with links to Al-Qaeda was suspected to have been wounded in the gunfight.

The bloody encountry was sparked by armed Abu Sayyaf bandits who tried to cross the cordon set in the area by government forces.

Airing concern that the hostages— Swiss Andreas Notter, Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba and Italian Eugenio Vagni must not be harmed, the head of ICRC Southeast Asia-Pacific operations Alain Aeschlimann said, “”Their safety is paramount. We repeat our call that no action should be taken that could put (their lives) in danger,”—-Yahoo News/ AP (03/17/09, Gomez, J)

The kidnapped victims have been held since January 2009 by the Islamic extremists who seek the withdrawal of government troops from the area and insinuate on a payment of P50 million ransom. =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Abu Sayyaf kidnappers asks for P50 milllion ransom for ICRC workers” Posted by mesiamd at 3/12/2009

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After a protracted news blackout, an announcement that the Army is ready to storm the kidnappers’ lair?

March 2, 2009

Since the three (3) International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) humanitarian workers where snatched in Jolo, Sulu by Muslim extremists, the Philippine military was clear in saying they were keeping a news black out to ensure that the kidnapped victims would not be harmed. Government officials thought of the safety of the abducted workers on the hands of their captors.

They made the people understand the delicate balance they had to do in securing the freedom of the abducted civilians. Undoubtedly, the victims’ families and the ICRC officials understood the wisdom of keeping quiet. Giving ransom wasn’t part of the plan.

The ICRC staff — Andreas Notter of Switzerland, Eugenio Vagni of Italy and Filipina Mary-Jean Lacaba — were kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf extremists on January 15… Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres on Monday said the kidnappers had not made any “clear demands” although previous Abu Sayyaf kidnappings involved millions of dollars in ransom. “We are keeping the pressure in the area but we have not yet conducted an actual rescue,” Torres told reporters. “Our troops are there but there has not been any assault. They are on standby.”—-Inquirer/AFP (03/02/09)

After more than a month of silent negotiations with the Abu Sayyaf terrorists, Agence France-Presse (03/02/09) reported that the military is surrounding the positions of the Islamic militants in preparation for a rescue as told by Pres. spokesman Cerge Remonde in Malacanang. Troops are said to be getting ready to confront the kidnappers who are believed to have ties with the notorious Jemaah Islamiya (JI), a Moslem terrorist group operating in neighboring Indonesia.

Perhaps, exasperated by the kidnappers’ demand that the military must pull out of the area, Malacanang and the army have a change of mind. The captives have sent word of their suffering in the hinterlands of Mindanao. But why will the government and its military announce to the whole world that they are planning an attack? Are they planting confusing leads? Is it the most logical thing to do? Are they sure they have learned from the lessons of the past where a forcible rescue and too much talk led to the deaths of the kidnapped victims? Go figure. Announcing plans to the terrorists may not the best thing to do. (Photo Credit: Alvin Chan)=0=

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Muslim religious leaders must also seek the release of Red Cross workers

February 25, 2009

Islamic religious leaders have climbed the mountains of Sampinit in Mindanao to seek the freedom of Umar Jaleel, a peaceworker from Sri Lanka who was abducted by nine armed men believed to be part of the notorious Abu Sayaff group led by Puruji Indama.

“Because the victim is also a Muslim preacher, the Muslim religious leaders went to the mountains to negotiate for his release,” according to the member of the group trying to solve the crisis.” —Philstar (02/25, 09, Pareno, R)

Basilan Vice Gov. Al Rasheed Sakalahul who heads the provincial crisis management committee says Ulamas who believe hostage-taking is against Islam are out to seek the release of Jaleel, a Muslim.

If kidnapping is against their beliefs, these religious leaders must work for the freedom of other innocent victims—like Swiss Andreas Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni and Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba, the three International Committee of the Red Cross(ICRC) humanitarian workers being held in Sulu, Mindanao since they were forcibly snatched in January 15, 2009. At the time of kidnapping they were doing charity work for prisoners in the area. (Photo Credit: AmUnivers) =0=

UPDATE:“Please tell them, if possible, if they can, to quicken the process. It has become very hard and truly painful. Physically and emotionally, it’s really very, very hard,” said Mary Jean Lacaba, the Filipino captive in the ICRC kidnapping said in a phone interview last Feb 25, 2009.—PDI (02/28/09, de la Cruz, A)

RELATED BLOG: “Three kidnapped Red Cross workers still missing in Mindanao” Posted by mesiamd at 1/21/2009

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Hostage takers now demand $10 million ransom

February 9, 2009

The modus operandi of the Abu Sayyaf kidnappers has unraveled just as expected. After three weeks of holding workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)— Italian Eugenio Vagni, Swiss Adreas Notter and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba, Abu Sayyaf through the Moro Islamic Libration Front (MILF) has stopped treating them as “guests.”

Just as expected, Albader Parad, leader of the notorious Abu Sayyaf kidnappers announced they are demanding $10 million ransom for the three innocent human beings who were there on a humanitarian work to benefit the Sulu prisoners. This extortion demand is more despicable when these criminals say, as in the past, the money is for the hostages’ “board and lodging” obligations.

This hideous development brings the kidnapping on a more difficult plane. Advocating a news blackout, the military has been so far helpless. The ICRC follows a no ransom policy in dealing with criminal elements. In line with the no-negotiation-no ransom policy of the government, the ICRC joins religious, student and community groups in denouncing the abductions and demand the release of the victims.

Kidnapping has been an anathema against peace and progress in the Southern Philippines where the Muslims are concentrated. Barbarism which masquerades as an opportunity to drum up sympathy for the Muslims only send in the message of lawlessness and lack of moral values of Islamic extemists. Hostage-taking has been a source of shame for the government and the Filipino people. (Photo Credit: AP/ Favila, A) =0=

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Abu Sayyaf kidnapped victims appeal for help; their fates still in limbo

February 5, 2009

Three weeks after the three workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were abducted while doing humanitarian work for Sulu prisoners in Southern Philippines, they sent an appeal to the world, particularly the local authorities to work on their release. The Abu Sayyaf Islamic group with Al Qaeda ties had been holding them in an undisclosed forested location while demanding that the military with a force of about 1,000 soldiers pull out from the area.

“Please try to… deal with them, try to find a way to pull us out,” Eugenio Vagni, the 62-year-old engineer, said in an interview aired by a local radio. “We call on concerned authorities to choose to negotiate with the group, to negotiate and we hope that they will take this effort seriously,” said Swiss Andreas Notter, 38, the head of ICRC team abducted in Jolo island on Jan. 15 after a prison sanitation project inspection.—-GMA News.tv / Xinhua (02/05/09)

The initial maneuvers to secure their freedom have not worked. Italian Eugenio Vagni, Swiss Andreas Notter and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba are reportedly treated “well,” but this doesn’t guarantee that this situation will hold until a happy end.

The public reception of the abduction is tepid; there’s practically no outrage from Filipinos and people abroad who have been numbed by banditry in this location. Military officers pin on secrecy and news black out “to protect the safety” of the abducted victims. Behind the scene however, there are those who question the competency of the government in handling the hostage situation. The US embassy in Manila has offered their help and ICRC officials mulls on how the three victims could be rescued.

The longer the abducted workers are held, the public sees clearly the brutality and evil terrorism inflicts on the world. The Abu Sayyaf militants speak of “guest treatment,” on their victims, but it won’t be long when their real motivation comes to light. Nobody will be surprised if ransom, intimidation, and physical harm become the center piece of their familiar modus operandi. (Photo Credit: JezICRCGeneva; Charlie Salceda)=0=

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Three kidnapped Red Cross workers still missing in Mindanao

January 21, 2009

A week after 3 members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were kidnapped in Patikul, Sulu by heavily armed unidentified men on motorcycles, there had been little news on their whereabouts. Swiss Andreas Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni and Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba were snatched in Southern Philippines on January 15, 2009 during their field inspection of a water sanitation project in Sulu Provincial Jail in Southern Philippines.

Abu Sayyaf, the extremist Islamic group under Albade Parad with Al Qaeda ties had been suspected to be behind the abduction. On Monday, January 19, the kidnapped ICRC workers placed a phone call to their office asking that the military rescue operation be suspended.

Gen. Alexander Yano of the Armed Forces of the Philippines heads the search and rescue operation which show no progress. The military officer keeps a controversial news blackout which he believes is needed so as not to compromise the life of the kidnapped victims.

“Thursday’s abduction was the most high-profile kidnapping of foreigners since 2001, when Abu Sayyaf gunmen snatched nearly two dozen tourists from a resort, including three Americans. One of the Americans was beheaded, a second was killed during a military rescue operation and the third was rescued. The incident prompted Washington to deploy troops in the south starting in 2002, but they are barred from combat.” —Yahoo News / AP (01/17/09, Teves, O)

“Alain Aeschlimann, head of the ICRC’s operations for Asia Pacific in Geneva, said their main concern is to ensure that they continue to be unharmed and that they are let go, without any conditions, as quickly as possible.” —Malaya (01/20/09, Reyes, V)

There is increasing clamor to step up the search. Conflicting rumors heighten the anxiety and feeling of helplessness of hostages’ relatives. With no progress in finding the missing workers, the US Embassy in Manila has offered help to the Philippine authorities. If mishandled, this crisis can quickly degenerate into another round of ransom-giving, then body injuries, and even deaths. Unintended results bring back the old questions on the competence and integrity of the military authorities in solving this kind of dilemma. (Photo Credit: AFP/ ICRC file; Charles Saceda) =0=

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Nuns abducted in Kenya, farmers from Camarines Sur march to Malacanang & the US national debt of $10,664,871,159,771.01 bogs the nation

November 27, 2008

The message of Thanksgiving is as beautiful as the reason why we celebrate Christmas. Both holidays are times of reflection and joy for all peoples of the world. Yet today, November 27, 2008, in spite the celebration’s purity of purpose and its significance, dark forces break our peace and try to shatter our hope.

The rejoicing which accompanies the holiday is marred by negativities in the news all over the world. Blocking the way of prayers, reflections, family reunions, turkey dinners, sharing food with the needy, parades, and football games, are spoilers of today’s obervance. Here are some examples:

Mumbai India Massacre

1. Mumbai Terrorist Attack in India with rising numbers of casualties: 104 dead & 314 wounded. Undetermined number of hostages is being held by a militant group believed to be Islamic extremist radicals. An Australian and a Japanese tourist are among the dead.

Kidnapping in Kenya

2. Maria Teresa Olivero, 60, and Caterina Giraudo, 67, two Italian Catholic nuns on a mission to help alleviate hunger and maintain health programs in Kenya were abducted by gunmen on November 17, 2008 and were taken to undisclosed location in lawless Somalia. Their abduction shows the difficulty of helping the poor and underserved in troubled countries like those in Africa.

Thailand’s State of Emergency

3. Thailand has declared a state of emergency around two airports. Scores of protesters against the government have massed on terminals of both airports resulting to all flight cancellations.

UPDATE: As of Sunday November 30, 2008, more than 30 anti-government protesters have been wounded by gunfire and grenade blasts. The closure of the airport strands about 100,000 travellers in Thailand.

Fajardo Estate (Banasi Farm) March from Camarines Sur to Manila

4. Fajardo Estate land dispute escalates when 49 poor farmers from Banasi, Bula, Camarines Sur decided a 21 day march to Malacanang Palace to demand the return of their land which covers 123.349 hectares. Before the CARP, the disputed property is owned by Edilberto Fajardo, Corazon Fajardo, Angustia Imperial and heirs of Baao, Camarines Sur.

“Nagsikad na poon kan Noviembre 17, 2008 an 21 dias na paglakaw kan 45ng paraoma hali sa Banasi, Bula, Camarines Sur pasiring sa Malacañang nganing huroton ki Presidente Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo na ibalik sa sainda an 123.3490ng hectariang daga na parte kan Fajardo Estate na enot pig-award sa sainda susog sa Certificate of Land Ownership (CLO) No. 00495527 base sa Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL).”—Bicol Mail, (11/20/08)

Every American Owes $34,947.22/person

5. As of November 27, the outstanding public debt of USA is $10,664,871,159,771.01 (approximately $10.7 trillion dollars). According to the National Debt Clock’s tally, the national debt increases by about $3.89 billion/day since September 28, 2007. Amercan citizens share this debt at $34,947.22/person.

If Barack Obama expands the government spending with his promised programs and he increase taxes as the financial meltdown reels on, the economic strain and debt burden are likely to push the Americans to the limit. At this time the public is watching nervously to see the mettle of the incoming president. (Photo Credits: Reuters/PunitParanjpe; ____, Pakisamagallery/JuanEscandor; JsDart)=0=

RELATED BLOG: “At least 82 killed & hundreds injured in terror attacks in Mumbai, India” Posted by mesiamd at 11/27/2008.

UPDATE: November 28, 2008—The death toll and injured in Mumbai massacre rose to 125 and 327 respectively.