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Final ICRC hostage is free

The Swiss-run International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says that the last of its three workers abducted in the southern Philippines in January has been freed.

This content was published on July 12, 2009 - 10:58

Eugenio Vagni, an Italian, was released by Muslim rebels in the early hours of July 12 local time, the ICRC said. Fellow abductees Mary Jean Lacaba and the Swiss Andreas Notter regained their freedom in April.

"The ICRC is relieved and happy that Mr Vagni will soon be back with his family and friends, who have been living a painful nightmare for almost six months and cannot wait to see him return home," said Jean-Daniel Tauxe, the head of the ICRC's delegation in the Philippines, in an ICRC statement.

The ICRC added that Vagni was tired after 179 days in captivity, but given the circumstances was doing remarkably well. It went on to thank the local authorities for their part in helping to secure the release of the hostages.

The three ICRC officials were taken hostage after they inspected a sanitation project at a prison on the island of Jolo.

They were taken by the Abu Sayyaf group, which is on the United States list of terrorist groups for receiving funding and training from al-Qaida militants and its involvement in high-profile kidnappings, beheadings and deadly bomb attacks.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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