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Village officials tapped to assist gov’t troops in rescue of 2 abducted Europeans

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Village officials in Tawi-Tawi’s 11 towns have been tapped to assist government forces in combing their respective islands to search for the two Europeans abducted by armed men on February 1.
This as Senior Superintendent Rodelio Jocson, the provincial police chief, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that captives Swiss Lorenzo Vinciguerra and Swiss Ewold Horn were being kept in one of the islands in the province.
“What I can say is that they are in a forested area, and just imagine we have 307 islands and islets here and we are told the two Europeans were kept in one of the mainland’s island that covers about 3,000 hectares,” Jocson said.
Jocson could not say how many local leaders were joining the search and rescue operations. He said Filipino Ivan Sarenas, who escaped from being kidnapped, would also help.
Jocson said he was confident Horn and Vinciguerra have not been moved out of the province.
“If they were transferred to Sulu, by this time we would be getting information about captors or captives establishing contacts with either their relatives or to our government, or a negotiation may have been established. But as of today, we have not monitored anything,” Jocson said.
He added that it would “not be easy” for the suspects to bring the victims to Sulu, the nearest province from Tawi-Tawi, because of the naval blockades and the ongoing pursuit operations conducted by the government forces against Abu Sayyaf Group bandits.
Acting Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said he had instructed the crisis management committee of Tawi-Tawi to “intensify the efforts to locate the victims.”
“Involve the communities because I know the villagers are afraid of military operations in their areas, and that is the last thing they would want to happen,” Hataman said.
Hataman also called on civil society organizations and religious groups to help locate the two Europeans.
8:15 pm | Monday, February 6th, 2012


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