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Philippines: Eugenio Vagni still held hostage after 25 weeks

09-07-2009 Interview

The ICRC is renewing its appeal for the release of abducted staff member Eugenio Vagni. Its head of operations for East Asia, South-East Asia and the Pacific, Alain Aeschlimann, comments on the current situation.

 What is the latest news the ICRC has received from Eugenio?  

The last time he was able to contact his wife was two weeks ago, on 26 June. It is very upsetting and frustrating that Eugenio is still being held. As ever, we’re very worried about him. We appeal to the kidnappers once again to release him unconditionally so that he can rejoin his family, who miss him very much.

 What is your reaction to this week's reports of a bomb exploding in Sulu, the island where Eugenio was kidnapped?  

The news of this week’s incident in Sulu was particularly disturbing to Eugenio's family and also to his friends and ICRC colleagues. But we are of course concerned about the well-being of the entire civilian population in Sulu. We would like to offer our condolences to the families of people killed or injured in recent bombings, not only in Sulu province but in Central Mindanao as well.

 What is the ICRC doing, on its side, to help resolve the crisis?  

We will spare no effort until Eugenio is free at last. There are a lot of people working behind the scenes to bring about the release, safe and unharmed, of Eugenio. We are grateful for all genuine efforts to achieve this aim. We are in regular contact with the local and national authorities in the Philippines. I'd like to take this opportunity to reiterate, once more, our appeal to the kidnappers to let Eugenio go free without any conditions.

 How is Eugenio's family coping with the ordeal?  

His family is showing remarkable strength in the face of this terrible ordeal. We admire the courage they have shown during the long months without Eugenio. We are doing our best to keep his relatives informed, to comfort them and to give them the support that they deserve.

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