Military chief welcomes release of Swiss national

ARMED Forces chief Gen. Alexander Yano welcomed the release this morning of Swiss Andreas Notter, one of the three original hostages of the Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sulu, and assured that efforts are underway to secure the freedom of the last hostage, Italian Eugenio Vagni.

“The safe recovery of Notter is a relief to all government agencies working for the safe release of the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) victims and is a proof of their unrelenting efforts,” said Yano.

Notter was found by security forces in Indanan, Sulu Saturday morning, said Sulu-based military spokesman Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo.

Last April 2, Filipino engineer Mary Jean Lacaba was released by the kidnappers to Sulu Vice Gov. Lady Ann Sahidulla.

Yano said Notter is undergoing “procedural psychological debriefing and medical check-up sessions.” He declined to give the other details leading to Notter’s release, saying this may compromise ongoing efforts for Vagni.

“We cannot at the moment disclose all the details that transpired as doing so may derail current efforts by TF (Task Force) ICRC and security forces to ensure the safe release of the remaining victim, Vagni,” the AFP chief said.

“All non-violent mechanisms are being exhausted to ensure that the release of Vagni will happen at the soonest possible time,” Yano said.

“This (freedom of Notter) is a product of inter-agency effort to utilize non-violent courses of action to ensure the safe release of the victims. We pray that this too will lead to the release of Vagni, and the kidnappers to come to their senses and release the last victim,” he added. philippine news agency

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