Thursday, April 30, 2009

Italian hostage held by Sayyaf in the Philippines phones wife

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 30, 2009) – An Italian aid worker being held captive by Philippine Abu Sayyaf terrorists on a southern island has phoned his wife late Thursday, the television network ABS-CBN reported.

Eugenio Vagni called his wife at around 8.30 p.m. to say that he is alive, but details of their conversation were not made public. The Abu Sayyaf is believed holding Vagni in the island of Sulu, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

ABS-CBN said Gwen Pang, the secretary-general of the Philippine National Red Cross has confirmed the conversation between Vagni and his wife.

Vagni was kidnapped January 15 along with Swiss national Andreas Notter and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba, all are working for the International Committee of the Red Cross. The trio was seized after inspecting a water and sanitation project at a prison in Patikul town.

Police said the Abu Sayyaf freed Lacaba on April 2 while Notter was rescued on April 18 in the hinterlands of Indanan town. But media reports claimed the duo was allegedly released in exchange for huge ransoms.

Authorities said among those holding Vagni were members of the Indonesian terror group Jemaah Islamiya. Security forces have surrounded the hinterlands in Indanan town to prevent the Abu Sayyaf from escaping with their captive. (Mindanao Examiner)

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