The Al-Qaida-linked extremists group that kidnapped three workers of the International Red Cross has opted to keep silent on their original threat to behead one of the three workers at 2 p.m. yesterday.
Philippine government negotiators headed by the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Ronaldo Puno could not give a categorical answer to questions from the media on the safety for the hostages.
“We have almost a very, very high certainty that they are alive,” Puno said in a phone interview, referring to hostages Eugenio Vagni, Andreas Notter, and Mary Jean Lacaba.
Puno said that they received this information from sources on the ground.
But government troops and the crisis management committee remain on their toes, Puno added.
“We take it one day at a time…pwede sila pugutan (they can be beheaded) anytime and we cannot let our guard down,” he added.
Puno said he was asking for a proof of life from the Muslim extremists to end speculations
As of 7 p.m. today no word from the Al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayaff Group has reached the military command in the area.
The Muslim-led Abu Sayaff kidnapped three International Red Cross workers last January 15 while they were visiting a water project in the town of Jolo, a predominantly Muslim community about 500 miles south of Manila. The hostages include an Italian, a Swiss and a Filipino woman
Negotiations between Red Cross officials and the extremist group has been on-going for over two months but no positive result has been made, prompting the Philippine Armed Forces to deploy the army and marines in the area where the extremist group are holed in.