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WOCCA - bad news

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21. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4124 posts) 3y

More background information on this story.

22. Posted by Isadora (Moderator 13924 posts) 3y

I was wondering if any additional information had become available. This story is becoming stranger and stranger... Thanks for the update, James.

23. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4124 posts) 3y

I reckon that if Wocca makes it out (and let's hope and pray that he does), he'll pop up on the Nat Geo Discovery Channel or some such with intriuging tales of his time in captivity.

If there's anyone who can get himself into a situation like this, it'd be him. Likewise, if there's anyone who could get himself out of a situation like this, it'd also be him!

Let's hope for some good news over Christmas.

24. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4124 posts) 2y

"KIDNAPPED Australian Warren Rodwell has pleaded for his life in a video that has been sent to his Filipino wife.

In the video a distressed-looking Mr Rodwell says his captors are demanding $US2 million ransom.

“To my family please do whatever to raise the two million US dollars they are asking for my release as soon as possible,” he says.

“To the Australian embassy here in the Philippines, this is your constituent appealing for his life and safety … If I’m given my last wish, my last wish is to please help me out of here alive please Madame Ambassador.”

Fairfax reports the proof of life video was sent to Mr Rodwell’s wife just before Christmas and lasts less than two minutes.

Mr Rodwell was taken from his home on the southern island of Mindanao on December 5.

Bloodstains were found after the 53-year-old was taken.

Local army commander Major General Noel Coballes said Mr Rodwell tried to fight back against his kidnappers and suffered a wound to his hand.

“The victim fought back because he was an ex-serviceman of the Australian Army. He was hit in the hand because he resisted,” Coballes told reporters.

He did not say how severe the wound was.

Major General Coballes said the hunt for Mr Rodwell was continuing in the strife-torn southern Philippines.

“There were several reports … but we are just trying to find out the exact location of the Australian,” he said.

The Australian embassy in Manila issued a statement saying: “Philippine authorities are taking the lead on responding to Mr Rodwell’s kidnapping. Our embassy in Manila is working closely with Philippine authorities.”

Major General Coballes said it was possible Mr Rodwell was being held by the Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic extremist group founded in the 1990s with seed money from al-Qaeda.

The group has been blamed for the worst terror attacks in Philippine history and has been known to kidnap foreigners and Christians for ransom."

25. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4124 posts) 2y

Top Stories
Government ‘doing what it can’ for kidnapped man
Thursday 8:37PM

THE Federal Government insists it is working hard to secure an Australian man’s freedom from Islamist kidnappers in the Philippines but has vowed not to cave in to a $2 million ransom demand.

Mr Rodwell has pleaded for his life in a video that has been sent to his Filipino wife.

In the video, posted on Fairfax websites, a distressed-looking Mr Rodwell says his captors are demanding $US2 million ransom.

“To my family, please do whatever to raise the two million US dollars they are asking for my release as soon as possible,” he says.

“To the Australian embassy here in the Philippines, this is your constituent appealing for his life and safety … If I’m given my last wish, my last wish is to please help me out of here alive please Madame Ambassador.”

Human Services Minister Brendan O’Connor said the Government was focusing on working with Philippines authorities to help bring Mr Rodwell home, but paying ransoms was not an option.

“There’s been a policy, a bipartisan policy, on not paying ransoms, for many many years,” he said.

“Our focus is on ensuring we do everything we can for Mr Rodwell, in the circumstances. The embassy is working with local authorities and we should allow them to do that work.

“We will be working hard to ensure that Mr Rodwell is released.”

Both major parties have policies against paying ransoms for kidnapped Australians for fear that would lead to more kidnappings by extremists overseas trying to extort money.

Fairfax reports the proof of life video was sent to Mr Rodwell’s wife just before Christmas and lasts less than two minutes.

Mr Rodwell was taken from his home on the southern island of Mindanao on December 5.

Bloodstains were found after the 53-year-old was taken.

Local army commander Major General Noel Coballes said Mr Rodwell tried to fight back against his kidnappers and suffered a wound to his hand.

“The victim fought back because he was an ex-serviceman of the Australian Army. He was hit in the hand because he resisted,” Coballes told reporters on Wednesday.

He did not say how severe the wound was.

Major General Coballes said the hunt for Mr Rodwell was continuing in the strife-torn southern Philippines.

“There were several reports … but we are just trying to find out the exact location of the Australian,” he said.

Mr O’Connor said the Government was working on the advice of kidnapping experts to try to help Mr Rodwell.

“We have expert advice from people who have dealt with these matters before, to work with the local authorities in the Philippines, and focus on the ultimate goal, in ensuring the release of Mr Rodwell.”

“These are very difficult and delicate circumstances, our focus is on ensuring the safety of Mr Rodwell and we should allow the authorities in Manilla to do that work.”

“We will be engaged with the family, but our focus will be on the interests of Mr Rodwell and ensuring his release.”

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said the Coalition supported the Government’s actions and that the Government appeared to be doing everything it could to help Mr Rodwell.

The Australian embassy in Manila issued a statement saying: “Philippine authorities are taking the lead on responding to Mr Rodwell’s kidnapping. Our embassy in Manila is working closely with Philippine authorities.”

Major General Coballes said it was possible Mr Rodwell was being held by the Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic extremist group founded in the 1990s with seed money from al-Qa’ida.

The group has been blamed for the worst terror attacks in Philippine history and has been known to kidnap foreigners and Christians for ransom.

Australian journalist Nigel Brennan, who was kidnapped and held captive in Somalia for 15 months, said Mr Rodwell would be living with a “constant fear of death.”

“He sounds incredibly distressed, it (the video) was actually very difficult for me to listen to,” he said.

“It sounds very scripted and that’s usually the way. Every single time I spoke to one of my family members and when I did the ransom video, it was the same thing.

Mr Brennan said the Australian Government had a responsibility to provide counselling and support to Mr Rodwell’s family.

“They need to be upfront and give them options of the other help that is out there,” he said.

“It will be a very traumatic experience for them, perhaps even more traumatic than what Warren is going through because they have no idea of the conditions he is being kept in or whether he is alive.

“He will be living with the constant fear of death, he will be thinking `are they just going to take me out one day and execute me?’. Because the longer these things go on, the more valuable you become.”

Greens leader Bob Brown urged the government to connect the Mr Rodwell’s family with private sector experts, in line with a Senate committee’s findings.

Senator Brown, who helped broker the release of Mr Brennan said it was important the government connect families of hostages to private consultants.

One of eight recommendations a Senate committee made in a report tabled in parliament in November last year was for government agencies to alert families to the services provided by consultants and to fully cooperate with the hired parties.

He said the government should explain the limitations of government assistance to the family, including the policy of refusing to pay a huge ransom.

“(It should) tell the family and give the family the best advice available about who they should contact in the private sector to help work through a kidnapping situation which is going to be different every time and different in each country,” he told ABC Radio.

“It’s difficult advice because the one thing governments won’t do, around the world, is pay massive ransoms for people who are kidnapped in the main.”

Senator Brown, who contributed to the ransom of more than $600,000 in Mr Brennan’s case, along with other business identities, said the situation was very delicate and he did not want terrorists to get the wrong message.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of primarily approaching people who may have money,” he said.

“That’s a very, very difficult thing to do and clearly the onus here is on the government to give good advice and the family to do the best they can to be able to; if necessary find money and sometimes the public may be able to help there.

“But really I wouldn’t like to give public advice on how people should best go about that.”

Mr Brennan - who spent 15 months in captivity and has been highly critical of the government’s handling of his case - backed Senator Brown’s call.

“I would dearly like to hope that the government has learnt a lot from my ordeal,” he told ABC television.

“I just hope that with Warren’s case they learn from the mistakes they made in my case and put some better options into play with Warren’s family.”

Mr Brennan said he found it distressing to watch Mr Rodwell’s video.

“I’m guessing he’s living in fear and having quite fatalistic thoughts at the moment.”

Asked what his message to Mr Rodwell would be, Mr Brennan said: “Try and stay as positive as you possibly can. It’s easy to allow depression to swallow you up but that’s a really dark road to to go down.”

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said he believed the government was doing all it could.

“A human life is in the balance and I think the less public commentary the better,” he told reporters in Brisbane.

A Senate committee report into overseas kidnapping last year recommended the government quickly alert families to the services provided by private negotiators.

26. Posted by Isadora (Moderator 13924 posts) 2y

I just watched Wocca's video on Facebook. Josette posted it earlier as she found it on perthnow.com:

Kidnapped Aussie Warren Rodwell pleads for his life after $2m ransom

As Australian journalist Nigel Brennan (a previous kidnapped victim), states in the above article, it does sound quite scripted and the shuffling of paper can be heard during the video.

Again, we can only pray for a swift and safe return.

27. Posted by Brendan (Respected Member 1824 posts) 2y

I just popped in for a look and I noticed this thread. This is horrible news. I just saw a program on TV a week or two ago about the problems with finding hostages in the Philippines; there is so much uninhabited jungle and marsh that the places a group can hide are seemingly endless.

I hope this ends well for Wocca.

28. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3606 posts) 2y

I was shocked to read the awful news about Wocca. Let's hope for a safe return home soon.

29. Posted by Isadora (Moderator 13924 posts) 2y

Any other news about Warren lately?

With the release of the American and Dutch hostages by the Somali pirates, and them taking another American hostage this past weekend - it's kept Warren in my thoughts. I realize they are all separate in the reasoning (except for the ransom money aspect), but a hostage is still a hostage and we know Warren in one way or another.

I hope you are still with us, Wocca.

30. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3606 posts) 2y

I can't find anything further when I do a google search - hopefully no news is good news.