Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Just When You Thought You've Heard it All
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I read this article today at PDI. here
Take your pick. How do you think ICRC Swiss kidnap victim Andreas Notter got away from the dreaded Abu Sayyaf's viselike grip?
A. He was rescued.
B. He escaped.
C. He paid (or his negotiators) ransom.
D. He followed the stars to escape.
Military officials and Senator Richard Gordons, current Philippine national Red Cross Chair, at first couldn't give a common answer. The AFP says Notter escaped, but was able to do so because of the military pressure applied against the Abu Sayyaf. Gordon, on the other hand, claim that he was simply released, without any aid from the military whatsoever.
But now, Notter's official answer is---you wouldn't believe this-D! Notter, before leaving the country, left a text message wherein he basically said that he "escaped captivity in the jungle by following the star." Richard Gordon seems to buy this theory by adding that, "“He (Notter) knows how to navigate by the stars. He knows where the North, South, East and West were. So he followed that until he came to the road.”
Unbelievable! After 3 months in captivity and intense military offensive against the Abu Sayyaf, Nottter escaped unharmed by simply following the star's direction. At the moment, only one kidnapped victim is left in the terrorist group's hand, Italian Eugenio Vagni. Prior to all of this, a Filipina ICRC was freed after much negotiation and grumbling between the military, government officials, Gordon, Muslim leaders and the Abu Sayyaf. The Abu Sayyaf kept on giving a deadline and a beheading schedule for its victims, but never pushed through with its threat. As usual, the government's official mantra in these scenario is that no money was ever involved in their release as it strictly adheres to the "no ransom policy." But of course, people always speculate and know otherwise.
I could only pray that the last kidnap victim Vagni gets released soon. Accordingly, he has several medical conditions which need appropriate treatment. I doubt it if he could last more than a year of captivity like the Burnhams. And once he gets released, I really wouldn't be surprised anymore if Vagni's rationale for his escape is that he followed the cows or something. So his official statement would go something like this: "It was dark and I somehow lost my captors. By dawn I saw a herd of cattle and quickly followed their direction. It lead me to a quiet town. I walked several kilometers before I saw police station. I told them who I was and they brought me to the city's official. I was just lucky, I guess."