Fri, Apr 24, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Officials concerned about health of remaining Red Cross hostage

REUTERS , MANILA

An Italian engineer, the last of three Red Cross captives kidnapped in January, is believed to have been turned over by his kidnappers to another group of rebels belonging to the same Islamic militant organization in the southern Philippines, the police chief said yesterday.

The government has offered a reward of 500,000 pesos (US$10,256) for information on the whereabouts of 62-year-old Eugenio Vagni, who officials said has difficulty walking because of a hernia, Philippine National Police chief General Jesus Verzosa said in a statement.

“We have now received reports that Mr Vagni was left by his captors to another group, but they are now staying in one area,” Verzosa said. “They can no longer move the hostage due to his deteriorating condition.”

Officials earlier said security forces clashed with a group of Islamic rebels holding Vagni on Wednesday but there was no confirmed report of sighting of the captive and there was speculation that he had been abandoned.

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