Monday, August 13, 2012

May 1, 2000,

May 1, 2000, CNN News, Hostages speak about their plight,
May 1, 2000, Philippine Headline News, Basilan Hostages, Rebels Trapped in Tunnel,

May 1, 2000, CNN News, Hostages speak about their plight,

Web posted at: 4:08 p.m. HKT (0808 GMT)

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines -- Following are quotes from some of the 21 hostages being held by Muslim extremists on Jolo island in the Philippines:

Marie Michel, Lebanon: "We don't have enough food, nothing to drink. We just have to wait for the rain to fall to have water."

Loisy Stephone, France: "I blame the Malaysian government. I was in Malaysia just to dive."

Sonya Wending, France: "It's a struggle for us, we have only changed clothes once since we were abducted."

Werner Gunter Kort, Germany: "We need a peaceful solution to this ... They are treating us correctly, but the conditions are very poor."

Mark Wollet, Germany: "We need proper shoes to be able to walk in the rough terrain."

Renate Juta, Germany: "I miss my son."

Juhani Franti Seppo, Finland: "I blame the Philippine government for this."

Mirco Jahanen Risto, Finland: "We all need medicines for the stomach, we are afraid of malaria."

Carel Strydom, South Africa: "We were totally surprised when we were abducted, there was no security on the island."

Monique Strydom, South Africa: "I know the kidnappers, we're all okay. It's not as bad as it looks."

May 1, 2000, Philippine Headline News, Basilan Hostages, Rebels Trapped in Tunnel,

Basilan Island, May 1, 2000 - Soldiers using tear gas to flush out Abu Sayyaf rebels and their 27 hostages are concentrating their efforts on an extensive tunnel system believed to have been built by the Japanese during World War II atop a mountain in Sumisip, Basilan Island.

Alwyn Alburo of RPN TV-9 reported this noon that government troops have surrounded another tunnel exit and that the hostages, composed of 22 school children and 5 adults, will have their ordeal behind them very soon.

Soldiers entering the tunnel at the start of "Oplan Final Assault" reported hearing a child's voice, and found children's sandals, electrical generators, weapons and 100 sacks of rice. The rice is part of the ransom earlier demanded by the rebels from the government.

Authorities believe the hostages and their captors are now cornered inside the tunnel.

"At present, we are scouring the area inch-by-inch but there is no more exchange of fire,'' said Colonel Hajma Hailil, an army spokesman for the 103rd brigade that seized the hill.

Defense Secretary Orlando Mercado told a radio reporter that search operations in the former rebel base on top of the 2,900-foot hill is not easy because there was a complex network of tunnels.

"The troops believe that there are two big bunkers below them,'' Mercado said.

Around 1,500 regular troopers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines are participating in the Basilan rescue operations on the slopes of Mount Ponoh Mahajid.

The group is demanding the release of three terrorists from U.S. jails, including Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the 1993 bombing of New York's World Trade Center. That demand has been rejected by both the US and Philippine governments.

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