An Australian citizen taken hostage in the southern Philippines island of Mindanao has been shown today in a video in which he pleads for his life.
Media in Australia were sent the tape, in which former soldier Warren Rodwell, evidently ill at ease, said his kidnappers needed payment of a ransom of two million US dollars.
The video had originally been sent only to Rodwell’s Filipina wife Miraflor Gutang before Christmas.
Rodwell said: “To the Australian embassy here in the Philippines, this is your constituent appealing for his life and safety. Please help facilitate to give the group the demand.”
He said his previous army life was not relevant as things were different, “particularly the terrain. The only solution to ensure my safety is to go with whatever they need.”
Rodwell was taken on December 6. He is understood to have lived in the area with his wife, who reportedly argued with the attackers.
Police and military have not commented on whether the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf, or the larger Moro Islamic Liberation Front is involved in the abduction. But previous hostage takings have been attributed by the authorities to these groups.
In addition to Rodwell, last year two Americans, a Malaysian, an Indian and three South Koreans, plus many Filipinos were kidnapped in the southern Philippines.
Since Rodwell was taken, Australia has issued an enhanced travel advisory not only warning citizens not to travel to several areas of the region but also advising anyone living there to consider relocating.