Libyan Negotiators Say they Hope to Welcome Jolo Hostages this Weekend
The Kadhafi Charitable Foundation, managed by one of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's sons, is still trying to free the last six European hostages in the Philippines and hopes to welcome them to Tripoli this weekend, an official said Thursday.
The foundation "is continuing its efforts to free the last (European) hostages this weekend," the foundation official said. "We hope that they will be able to arrive in Tripoli this weekend," he added.
The foundation obtained the release in late August of five other western hostages also held on the Philippine island of Jolo by the Muslim separatist group Abu Sayyaf.
A Libyan source said the French and German foreign ministries were expected to send a representative to greet the three Frenchmen, one German and two Finns.
The Philippines' chief hostage negotiator, Roberto Aventajado, told AFP in Manila that the six Europeans are expected to be freed Friday in return for Libyan development aid.
He said he would take a private jet with Libyan mediator Rajab Azzarouq to Jolo early Friday to implement an agreement to this end with the Abu Sayyaf.
Aventajado also confirmed that the Kadhafi foundation has offered eight to 10 million dollars for various "livelihood projects" in Jolo and other Muslim areas in the south as part of an aid package offered to the rebels.
Four of the Europeans -- German Marc Wallert, Frenchman Stephane Loisy and Finns Risto Vahanen and Seppo Fraenti -- were among 21 tourists and resort workers snatched by the Abu Sayyaf from the Malaysian resort of Sipadan on April 23.
The two others, Frenchmen Jean-Jacques le Garrec and Roland Madura, are television journalists kidnapped in July while visiting the Abu Sayyaf camp on Jolo.
The Kadhafi Foundation, run by Seif al-Islam Kadhafi, 28, has had a presence in the mainly Muslim southern Philippines for two years. Its official mission is to help Muslims throughout the world - TRIPOLI (AFP)
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