Philippine chief negotiator calls for release of all kidnap victims

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 20, 2014
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The Philippine government has been alarmed by growing number of kidnappings in the country and called on all sectors including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to assist in releasing kidnap victims.

Philippine government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel Ferrer said in a statement on Sunday that"This year alone, 23 kidnapping cases were recorded in Basilan, Sulu, Zamboanga and Lanao provinces involving around 30 victims." "Let us join hands in redeeming them from a most terrible fate of being held hostage,"Coronel-Ferrer said. "In the last three years, there were nearly 100 cases of abductions of children as young as a year old, students, businessmen, foreigners, journalists, senior citizens, barangay officials and teachers. Many of these kidnap victims are still in captivity while some have been killed,"Coronel-Ferrer said.

MILF, the largest anti-government force, has been fighting government troops for decades to establish a self-rule Muslim state in southern Philippines. The MILF signed a historic peace agreement on March 27 this year, ending 40 years of conflict that has claimed thousands of lives and stalled economic development in areas affected by fighting. "As an organization that signed the peace agreement, the MILF must not tolerate the criminal acts of any of their individual members"she said, adding"They must do their part in arresting the impunity long enjoyed by these unscrupulous individuals."

Asked what the MILF can do, the government negotiator said that the MILF leadership should ask their supporters who are intricately involved with the Abu Sayyaf Group to choose between war and peace. Endi

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