MANILA– Eugenio Vagni, the last of the three International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) staff members abducted in the southern Philippines on Jan. 15, has been freed, the ICRC said Sunday.
Vagni, an Italian, regained his freedom in the early hours of July 12. He is tired after 179 days in captivity but, given the circumstances, is doing remarkably well, the ICRC said.
Fellow abductees Mary Jean Lacaba and Andreas Notter regained their freedom on 2 April and 18 April respectively.
“The ICRC is relieved and happy that Vagni will soon be back with his family and friends, who have been living a painful nightmare for almost six months and cannot wait to see him return home,” said Jean-Daniel Tauxe, the head of the ICRC’s delegation in the Philippines.
“We would like to express our profound gratitude to all those who have worked so hard in recent months to secure the release of Mary Jean, Andreas and Eugenio,” he added. “In particular, we would like to thank the Governor of Sulu, Abdusakur Tan, the Vice Governor of Sulu, Nur-Ana I. Sahidulla, and the Task Force Comet Commander, Major General Juancho Sabban. The tremendous efforts of national and local authorities, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police have contributed greatly to the resolution of this long crisis.”
The ICRC remains concerned about other hostages still being held captive in the southern Philippines.
The ICRC has been working in the Philippines since 1982. It provides protection and assistance for those most in need, particularly internally displaced people (IDPs) in Mindanao. In addition, it visits detainees to assess their conditions of detention. (Bulatlat.com)