Red Cross worker Andreas Notter says he is "happy to be alive and safe"
after being rescued from his al-Qaida-linked kidnappers in the
Philippines where he was held hostage for three months.
The Swiss national says he is unclear on how he got free from his captors, saying it "happened very quickly."
Philippine Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno said security forces spotted
the militants trying to escape through a military-police cordon around
their camp near Indanan town. Puno said the security forces chased the
militants, who left Notter behind when they could not "drag him with
Armed forces chief General Alexander Yano said further details were
unavailable, as they could compromise efforts to free the last
remaining hostage, 62-year-old Italian Eugenio Vagni. Notter says Vagni
is in pain. It is believed he needs surgery for a hernia.
Notter and Vagni had been held by the Abu Sayyaf group since January 15
along with a third Red Cross worker, Philippine national Mary Jean
Lacaba, who was released earlier this month following government
Phillipine Press Secretary Cerge Remonde called Saturday's rescue a
"major breakthrough" and hoped it would lead to the Vagni's rescue.
Efforts to free him include negotiations headed by a group Muslim clerics who were sent to contact the militants last week.
Abu Sayyaf has been responsible for bombings and kidnappings since the
1990s. They say they are fighting for an Islamic state in the southern