Australia welcomes Philippines hostage's 'proof of life'

Featured Oceania - December 28th, 2012

Foreign Minister Bob Carr welcomed news that the Australian man held captive by Muslim extremists in the Philippines was still alive after more than a year in hostage.

Warren Rodwell, a 54-year old former soldier from Sydney, confirmed that he was captured by the Abu Sayyaf in a video posted on a Youtube channel linked to the militant group.

“I’m being held prisoner, kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf Muslim terrorist group for over one year – actually 53, 54 weeks today,” Rodwell said in the two-minute video apparently taken on December 16, while holding a newspaper from the previous day.

“This video clip today is to say I am alive, I am waiting to be released. I have no idea what’s going on outside, I’m just kept held prisoner in isolation”.

According to AFP, Rodwell was seized by the Abu Sayyaf from his home in the southern Philippine town of Ipil on Dec 5, 2011.

Carr said the “confirmation of Mr. Rodwell’s welfare is welcome” but added his prolonged captivity is a “major concern”.

“The Philippine government has the lead in response to this case and is devoting significant resources to securing Mr. Rodwell’s release,” Carr said in a statement on Thursday.

“The Australian government is assisting Philippine authorities where appropriate”.