VATICAN CITY, MARCH 30, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is asking for the release of three kidnapped Red Cross workers in the Philippines as their captors threaten to behead one if the government doesn't give in to its demands.
The Vatican press office published a communiqué today noting that the Pontiff is concerned for the safety of the three, who were seized Jan. 15 by the Abu Sayyaf militant group, which has ties to al-Qaeda.Swiss national Andreas Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba were abducted after they visited a water sanitation project in Sulu provincial jail.
The pontiff "wants to raise his voice and urge that humanitarian sensibility and reason prevail over violence and intimidation," the statement said. "The Holy Father, in the name of God, asks for their release and calls on the authorities to favor a peaceful outcome to the tragic situation."The captors threatened to behead one of the hostages unless police and militiamen withdraw from 15 villages on Jolo Island.