Plea to save Philippine hostage

The family of a Filipino worker taken hostage in Iraq has appealed to the president to meet the demands of the hostage-takers and withdraw troops.

Gunmen said on Wednesday that they would kill Saudi Arabia-based truck driver Angelo de la Cruz unless troops were pulled out within three days.

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo said she was doing everything possible to secure Mr De la Cruz's release.

She has banned any more Filipino nationals from going to work in Iraq.

The hostage's family has made an emotional appeal on television for the president to give in to the hostage-takers' demands.

"Please pull out so he can be safe with us," the hostage's 15-year-old son said in an interview.

"I appeal to our president, Madame Gloria, please help us. The thing they are asking, let our government give a decision soon."

The Philippines has 51 soldiers and police in Iraq. Several thousand Filipino civilians work there.

Mr De la Cruz was shown surrounded by masked gunmen on a videotape broadcast by Arabic satellite channel al-Jazeera.

The hostage-takers were seen standing in front of a banner saying Islamic Army - the Khaled bin al-Waleed corps, which had not been heard of previously.

The group claimed it had already killed an Iraqi security guard accompanying the Filipino, whom it said worked for a Saudi Arabian company linked to US forces.

Ricardo Endaya, the Philippines charge d'affaires in Baghdad, said on Thursday that the Philippines authorities had been indirectly in touch with the kidnappers.

"Technically, we are not yet negotiating with the hostage takers, but we have already established lines of communication with them through intermediaries," Mr Endaya said in a television interview.

The seizure of the Philippines national is the latest in a spate of kidnappings of foreigners in Iraq.

Two Bulgarian truck drivers and an Egyptian are currently being held by different militant groups.

Meanwhile a Lebanese-born US marine allegedly kidnapped in Iraq has now resurfaced in Beirut, US officials confirmed.


Bron : BBC News

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