Netherlands Times (Aug 20): Dutchman still captive after assault on Islamic militants in Philippines
Ewold Horn has been held by Abu Sayyaf since February 2012 (Source: Screenshot/Eagle Eye Security Risk Advisor)
The Netherlands is working intensely on the release of Ewold Horn, who was kidnapped in the Philippines in 2012.
Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs said this on Thursday, the Telegraaf reports.
“We are in close contact with the Philippine authorities and have been for a while”, he said. “This is a very tragic case of someone who has been kidnapped for a long time and where we make many attempts to get him free.”
Horn, from Groningen, was kidnapped in the Philippines in February 2012 by extremist group Abu Sayyaf. The BBC reported on Thursday that two hostages managed to escape Abu Sayyaf during a military raid on the group on Tuesday night.
Horn was not one of the two. Up to 15 Abu Sayaff militants died in the raid. Minister Koenders could not confirm this report.
Concerns for Horn’s safety spiked in September last year when Abu Sayyaf threatened to kill two German hostages. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would not comment at the time, for fear that this would frustrate behind the scenes negotiations for his release.
Thirty participants comprising heads and members of different line agencies and the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) from Central Mindanao, Lanao Region and Davao Region.
The objective was to provide an in-depth understanding and awareness of the basic concept and principles of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in secular and religious perspectives were the centerpiece of the two-day seminar.
Sheikh Bajunaid Ibrahim opened the program with an Islamic Invocation followed by opening remarks by Ms. Sabine Gralla, Head of ICRC in Cotabato City who hails from Germany. She welcomed the participants and stressed the ICRC programs and interventions wherever armed-conflicts and calamities occurred.
A special message was also delivered by Mr. Andrew- Bartles Smith, a British National and ICRC Regional Advisor for Humanitarian Affairs. He said that the ICRD is also enhancing people’s understanding and awareness on certain laws and concepts of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Economic law, Arm conflict and Violence.
Sheikh Mahmod S. Ahmad, BLMI Executive Director said that the engagement with ICRC has been sought by BLMI during their series of meetings with ICRC to gain appropriate knowledge on IHL which is deemed necessary to Bangsamoro Leaders.
Resource person was Atty. Evecar Cruz, ICRC Legal Adviser who talked about IHL and its principles. She also presented the ICRC overview and its concepts by emphasizing the application of IHL in armed conflict situation.
Mr. Zezen Zaenal Mutaqin, from Indonesia and ICRC Program Officer for Global Affairs lectured on General Introduction on IHL. He expounded on the concept and application of IHL in consonant with Islamic Law related to armed conflict by emphasizing the Law of Peace and the Law of War as well as the concept of Jihad (Struggle) in Islamic perspective by quoting some verses in the Noble Qur’an and Hadiths (Sayings & Practices) of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W)
During the afternoon session, Sheikh Adulsalam Alabat presented the basic principles on rules of engagement in Islamic perspective and its corresponding mechanisms.
Summing up its broad spectrum, Sheikh Mahir Loderson, ICRC Global Affairs Consultant and Sheikh Nhurol Am Abdullah, Chairman, Committee on Dawah and Masajid Affairs in Cotabato City gave emphasis on Rules for the Preservation of Humanity in Islamic Law and IHL by stressing its significant concepts and their comparisons.
The following day, Mr. Andrew Bartles-Smith explicated the Principles and Practices of Humanitarian Affairs: Conflict and emergency related challenges faced by humanitarian actors.
Ms. Lany Dela Cruz, ICRC Communications Officer, Cotabato City also presented the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movements and their basic differences. She vividly presented its respective convergence in matters of intervention during armed conflict and post- conflict situation as well as its interlinking with ICRC.
Dr. Rahmawatie Husein, from Muhammadiyah University of Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Vice Chair for Muhammadiyah Disaster Management Center (MDMC) articulated on the experience of humanitarian NGO’s in tackling Disaster and Emergency Situations. She also presented a brief overview of Muhammadiyah Organization and its Movements in social philanthropic programs with other existing NGO’s without focusing mainly on religious aspects but also actively promoting the welfare of humanitarian affairs.
The Participants were also engaged in group discussions and presentation of group collective outputs on the issues discussed by Mr. Al Arba, Ms. Lany Dela Cruz and other ICRC officials. The staff of BLMI facilitated the program.
In his culminating message, Mr. Smith expressed his appreciation to the participants and to the BLMI, looking forward to more engagements with the BLMI; the dawning of Bangsamoro and smooth-sailing of the GPH-MILF Peace process.
BLMI Executive Director Ahmad expressed his profoundest gratitude to ICRC and to the dynamic resource persons of different nationalities who came all the way to Mindanao to impart valuable knowledge to the Bangsamoro people on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Islamic Jurisprudence related to armed-conflict, protection and prevention.
The International Committee on the Red Cross (ICRC) is based in Geneva, Switzerland - is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect lives, and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situation of violence and to provide them with assistance. The ICRC also endeavors to provide prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening Humanitarian Law and Universal humanitarian principles. ICRC is at the origin of the Geneva Convention, International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It directs and coordinates the International activities conducted by the Movement in Armed conflicts and other situations of violence.