Kidnapped Australian in PHL not hopeful of freedom

Warren Rodwell, the Australian national who was kidnapped in southern Philippines last year, has expressed little hope that he will be released by his abductors who are believed to be members of the notorious Abu Sayyaf bandit group. In a video that was posted on the video-sharing site YouTube, a gaunt-looking Rodwell said: “I do not expect to be released before the year 2013 at the earliest. I personally hold no hope at all for being released. I do not trust Abu Sayyaf.”

Screen grab from kidnap victim Warren Rodwell's latest video.Rodwell, who was 53 when he was snatched from his home in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay, on December 5, 2011, was shown holding the December 15, 2012 issue of the broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer. The nearly two-minute video was posted December 25, 2012. “This video clip today is to say that I am alive. I am waiting to be released. I have no idea what’s going on outside. I’m just held prisoner in isolation,” Rodwell said. Reached for comment, Maj. Emmanuel Garcia of the Armed Forces' public information office said they have yet to verify the authenticity of the video, which Rodwell said was recorded on December 15, 2012. The Australian Embassy has yet to issue a statement regarding the video. Negotiations Rodwell said he is aware of the negotiations being conducted for his release, although he added that he has not been receiving updates on it. “I understand there are some negotiations. I do not get any information, updated information. The people around me normally don’t speak English. I understand something is happening but I don’t know when,” he said. The Australian government has thumbed down the Abu Sayyaf’s $2-million ransom demand in exchange for Rodwell’s freedom, citing its no-ransom policy. The Australian government, through its Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has also issued a “Do Not Travel” advisory on Central and Western Mindanao as a result of the kidnapping. It was reported in May that Rodwell pleaded for his release in a video dated March 26. In the video released on January, he asked his family to “please do whatever to raise the two million US dollars they are asking for my release as soon as possible." In his recent video, Rodwell said he does not trust the Abu Sayyaf and the Australian government: “I just don’t trust anyone. Personally, I don’t care.” The footage ended after Rodwell looked at whoever was holding the camera and asked,“Is that it?". — KBK, GMA News


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