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Arroyo orders pursuit of ICRC captors

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 16:04:00 01/15/2009

Filed Under: Emergency Incidents, Relief & Aid Organisations, Military, The Southern Campaign, Kidnapping

MANILA, Philippines — Upon orders of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, security forces have launched hot pursuit operations against the abductors of an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) team in the southern province of Sulu and were ordered to recover the captives unharmed, Malacañang said.

Arroyo directed the military commander in the area, Major General Juancho Sabban, who heads Task Force Comet, to “take appropriate action on the ground,” Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said in a statement.

At the same time, Dureza advised the public to coordinate with security forces and local government officials if they were planning to visit the island province so that appropriate security measures could be set up.

The military has identified the victims as Swiss national Andreas Notter, the head of the ICRC team in the Philippines; Italian Eugenio Vagni; and Filipino Jean Lacaba.

The affiliation of their captors has not been immediately known.

“The security forces of the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] and the PNP [Philippine National Police] are in hot pursuit operations to track down the criminal elements and ensure the safe return of the captives,” Dureza said.

“In the light of this recent incident, the authorities are reiterating their call on all elements, whether locals or foreigners, who will visit these areas to coordinate with government forces and local authorities so adequate measures are done on their security and safety,” he said.

In a separate statement, deputy presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said: “The palace has directed AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] and the PNP [Philippine National Police] to conduct an all-out pursuit of the kidnappers of the Red Cross team in Sulu and to make sure that the victims are rescued unharmed, as their safety is always of utmost concern.”

It was the second high-profile kidnapping in the island province, a known bailiwick of the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf since June 2008, when an ABS-CBN television news team was held in the Sulu jungles for 10 days.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2009-01-15T08:35:05+00:00UTC01bUTCThu, 15 Jan 2009 08:35:05 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am01

Posted in Uncategorized

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