Updated: Abu Sayyaf’s Red Cross hostages

UPDATE: Please visit this LINK to support and pray for the Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba. Let us all pray for the safety of the three hostages.

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Two current issues caught my attention the whole of yesterday… the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) volunteers’ continued captivity in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the HK writer Chip Tsao’s racial slur against Filipinos.

Red Cross volunteers’ continued captivity in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf

Jakob Kellenberger, a former Swiss diplomat and current head of the ICRC, issued a rare public appeal for the Abu Sayyaf to release the three Red Cross volunteers being hostaged by the group. As a response to the appeal, the government considered the demands of the Abu Sayyaf to pull out the troops in Indanan, Sulu where the the kidnapped victims are reportedly being held. Abu Sayyaf even issued a threat that should their demands are not met, they will behead a hostage.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno announced on national tv that the government troops would withdraw and it would take 36 hours at most to complete it. It began last March 28. Upon hearing this development, a reporter from ABS-CBN was able to interview Abu Sayyaf’s leader Albader Parad and he promised to release a hostage as soon as the withdrawal of troops is complete. He even promised no later than Monday morning, which should have been yesterday.

But lo and behold! After the pullout of government troops comes another demand from the Abu Sayyaf! This time around, the rebels want a total pullout of the troops in the entire island! Why am I not surprised by this development?

The Abu Sayyaf seized Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba, Swiss Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni last January 15. It’s been more than 3 months now and the three are complaining about the hardships they are experiencing from the captivity and are actually begging Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross, to do something about their condition.

The government is saying that they are running out of options to get the hostages back. A complete pullout of the troops in Sulu will result to anarchy, according to them. And I believe them. Something needs to be done to this Abu Sayyaf Group and fast!

Chip Tsao’s racial slur in my next post…

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