Over the past week, violence has continued unabatedly in the Jojo Island, an Abu Sayyaf stronghold. The fighting, which resulted in 22 deaths, took place amidst a determined search for the kidnapped Italian Red Cross engineer, Eugenio Vagni. Vagni, who is believed to still be alive, is one of hundreds of international aid workers to be abducted in the troubled nation. While his fellow abductees, Andreas Notter (Swiss) and Mary Jean Lacaba (Filipina) have been released after their ransoms were paid, Mr Vagni continues to be held hostage. Suffering from a hernia, it is hoped that Vagni will be rescued soon.
Unfortunately, rescuing Mr Vagni has proven to be a most difficult endeavour. On Saturday, the Abu Sayyaf militants killed five Filipino marines who were dispatched on a mission on recover Vagni. The Italian who has been held hostage for a total of five months has not been heard from since he made a phone call to his wife on the 2nd of June.
While the mission to rescue the 62 year old has been fraught with difficulty, the Filipino military are determined to recover him. Led by Lt-Col Arevalo, the Filipino rescue team are confident that Vagni not only remains alive but is being kept from the areas of conflict.