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Philippines: abducted staff renew contact as ICRC reiterates calls for their release

26-01-2009 Interview

Three abducted staff members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were able to reach their colleagues over the weekend to let them know they are safe and in good health. Mary Jean Lacaba, Eugenio Vagni and Andreas Notter were seized by armed gunmen on the Southern Philippines island of Sulu on 15 January. Alain Aeschlimann, who heads the organisation's operations for Asia Pacific in Geneva, discusses the latest developments.

   

   
 
  Alain Aeschlimann    
     

 Have you been able to contact the three kidnapped ICRC workers recently?  

We have had contact by telephone with Mary Jean, Eugenio and Andreas over the past 48 hours. They say that considering the circumstances, they are doing alright. Their voices sounded composed and calm and we hope that this is a positive sign.

The ICRC reiterates its call for their rapid and unconditional release.

 What else can the ICRC do now?  

We genuinely appreciate all efforts to bring our colleagues safely home and the concern of so many people inside and outside the ICRC for their welfare and we are grateful for their support.

However, we are concerned that any further public comments by us at this stage could complicate efforts to bring about the safe and rapid return of Marie Jean, Eugenio and Andreas. I am sure both the media and the public understand this.