Pope Benedict has appealed for the release of three Red Cross volunteers being held as hostages in the island province of Sulu in the southernmost part of the Philippines. One can only feel a sense of shame that any group such hold such people hostage. Please pray for them. Their captors, Al-Qaida-linked militants, had threatened to behead one of them at 2pm today, Tuesday, Philippine time, 6am GMT. As I write this at 6:40pm Philippine time, there is no report that such has happened.
Here is the CBCPNews report:
Pope appeals for release of Red Cross hostages
MANILA, March 31, 2009— Pope Benedict XVI made a last minute appeal for the release of three Red Cross workers being held hostage by al-Qaida-linked militants.
The Abu Sayyaf group threatened to behead one of their hostages today unless the government troops leave 15 villages in Jolo island.
The Vatican press office yesterday published a communiqué, saying that the Pontiff is concerned for the safety of the three—two Europeans and a Filipino, who were seized January 15.
Swiss national Andreas Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba were abducted after they visited a water sanitation project in Sulu provincial jail.
Benedict XVI “wants to raise his voice and urge that humanitarian sensibility and reason prevail over violence and intimidation,” the statement said.
"The Holy Father, in the name of God, asks for their release and calls on the authorities to favor a peaceful outcome to the tragic situation.”
“The Holy Father, in the name of God, asks their liberation and begs the authorities to favor ever peaceful solution of this dramatic episode,” it added. (CBCPNews)