Tan authorizes Vagni’s rescue

April 23, 2009 11:09 am 

MANILA, April 22 — The Local Crisis Management Committee (LCMC) has given the Armed Forces of the Philippines to effect the rescue of Italian Eugenio Vagni, the remaining member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) still being held captive by the Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Sulu.

LCMC chairman Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan said on Wednesday he gave the clearance to the government forces, citing the deteriorating condition of Vagni, who is suffering from hernia and needs immediate medical attention.

Two other ICRC hostages are now free, with Swiss Andreas Notter escaping last Saturday. Last April 2, Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba was released by the bandits to Sulu Vice Gov. Lady Ann Sahidulla.

“Given the opportunity, we will do that (rescue Vagni). When we see the opportunity, of course, we want to extricate (Vagni),” said Tan.

However, Tan clarified that they are still waiting for the right opportunity to effect the rescue.

“We have to consider the health condition of Mr. Vagni,” said Tan.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Tuesday said that Vagni is severely affected by hernia, adding that he has to be carried by his captors if they move from one place to another.

Tan admitted that there are risks involved in the rescue of the 62-year-old Vagni.

“That is the risk that we have to take but these (operations) are calculated. We are weighing our options,” he said.

“Gordon has been saying that his (Vagni's) health condition is deteriorating, like this and like that,” said Tan, referring to Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross, who has communication lines with the kidnappers. (PNA)

DCT/scs/VR

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