Archive for the ‘Mary Jean Lacaba’ 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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Life on a balance: hostages can’t rely on the government for help?

April 1, 2009

For more than two months , Filipinos were asked to wait for the rescue of the three International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) workers, but it appears nothing tangible has come out of the attempts to free the hostages

Ramon Casiple, director of the Institute for Political and Economic Reform says the government is handling the hostage crisis badly. He speaks of “bumbling” and the lack of cohesive plan to rescue the hostages that even the military admits.

“A disgusted Marines officer hit the government for its alleged weakness in handling the hostage crisis and choosing negotiations over the military option. He said the military stands to get the blame if something bad happens to the hostages.”—Malaya (04/02/09, Reyes, V)

After a skirmish that claimed the life of 3 soldiers and wounded 19 more, the rescue of Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba, Swiss Andreas Notter, and Italian Eugenio Vagni from the hideous Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf bandits have met a perilous impasse. No reliable word about their fates are known after the deadline on Tuesday, March 31, 2009. The Abu Sayyaf extremists’ demand that government military personnel leave the area has not been met.

Now, it is a fearful wait and see. Filipinos are told the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) soldiers are cordoning the forest where the hostages and their kidnappers are holed. Is it a preparation to attack the Abu Sayyaf’s position and free the hostages?

Those who know what transpired in the deaths of hostages Guillermo Sobero, Deborah Yap, and Martin Burnham can only hope for the best. The innocent humanitarian ICRC workers don’t merit the inhuman treatment from Abu Sayyaf. So too are the unnamed captives who languish in the bandit’s lair. The government rescue plan, branded as inutile, must do better to save them. (Photo Credit: Charlie Saceda x 2) =0=

UPDATE: Apri 2, 2009 reports suggest that the kidnappers have abandoned their position and splintered into groups in anticipation for a rescue operation. The condition of the three ICRC kidnapped victims are so far unknown.

RELATED BLOGS: “Abu Sayyaf extremists warn of beheading ICRC captives” Posted by mesiamd at 3/31/2009; “Hostage takers now demand $10 million ransom” Posted by mesiamd at 2/09/2009

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Abu Sayyaf extremists warn of beheading ICRC captives

March 30, 2009

After two months of holding the three International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) workers in the mountains of Jolo, Sulu, the kidnappers headed by Albader Parad of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group demanded that military, police and civilian forces must leave 15 barangays in five towns in Sulu within 24 hours. The new demand came after three military men died and 19 others were wounded last week in a skirmish between government forces and members of the Islamic extremists.

There are fresh worries that Swiss Andreas Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni, and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba—-the three humanitarian workers snatched by the kidnappers, last January 15, 2009 in Mindanao will be harmed or killed. According to Sulu vice gov. Lady Ann Sahidulla, one of the negotiators said the terrorist group is serious in its threat to decapitate one of the hostages.

The appeal of the ICRC to spare and free the hostages have fallen in deaf ears. With little that it can do, government forces are weighing in on how to resolve the hostage situation which drags on, putting the hostages’ fate in greater danger.

The Abu Sayyaf has a disdainful history of beheading its innocent victims as in case of Peruvian-American Guillermo Sobero who was snatched together with 20 others in a Palawan resort before being killed 8 years ago.

Martin Burnham, a missionary died under Abu Sayyaf hands in a deadly shootout after being held in captivity for more than a year with his wife Gracia. In the past, this violent Islamic group with Al Qaeda ties is known to seek ransom that runs in millions. (Photo Credit: Charlie Saceda) =0=

Pope Appeals for the release of hostages

On March 31, 2009, the Vatican issued an appeal from Pope Benedict to set free the innocent ICRC hostages. The pontiff calls for “humanitarian sensibililty and reason to prevail over violence and intimidation.” His message was sent by the Holy See as the 2 P. M. deadline to comply with the kidnappers’ demand that the military and police pull back from Jolo draws near.

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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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Abu Sayyaf kidnappers asks for P50 million ransom for ICRC workers

March 12, 2009


The notorious terror group Abu Sayyaf has finally demanded P50 million ransom as a condition to release the three humanitarian workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC.) This is according to Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema.

Many did not believe the earlier denials that all the Mindanao extremists wanted was for the military to pull out from their area of operation. As in the past, the public expects this group to ask for ransom. Two months after Swiss Andreas Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni, and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba were abducted and held hostage in the hinterlands of Jolo, Sulu, the terror group has finally been reported to be asking for ransom which the ICRC rejected.

The reason for the rejection is clear. It rewards acts of banditry. It encourages more kidnappings. Leaving the problem’s resolution to the local crisis negotiators, the government has three options—-ignore the demand and not to do anything, forcibly rescue the hostages, or pay the ransom. (Photo Credit: AFP/ ICRC file) =0=

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

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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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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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