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French Journalists Escape From Abu Sayyaf Captors

Alert Update - Philippines

21 September 2000

SOURCE: Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), Quezon City

**Updates IFEX alerts of 19 September, 29, 18 and 1 August, 28, 25, 12 and 10 July 2000**

(CMFR/IFEX) - Two journalists from France 2 television, held hostage since 9 July 2000, were brought to a military camp in Jolo, Sulu, in the Southern Philippines, early in the morning (6:30 a.m. local time) on Wednesday 20 September, after escaping from their Abu Sayyaf captors.

Jean-Jacques Le Garrec and Roland Madura took the opportunity to escape on the night of Tuesday 19 September, at around 8:00 p.m., as the Philippine military's strike against the Abu Sayyaf raged for the fifth day. While the Abu Sayyaf faction holding them was trying to find a way to cross a road

without government troops noticing, the two journalists managed to slip away. They hid in the jungle for several hours before they encountered and flagged down a convoy of trucks carrying government troops near Indanan town, ten kilometres from an Abu Sayyaf camp. They were then brought to the military camp from where they were later flown to Manila.

The Philippine armed forces' offensive - launched Saturday 16 September - kept the members of the Abu Sayyaf Group moving to avoid being captured.

A female colleague of the journalists, Maryse Burgot, was released earlier, together with six other hostages who were originally taken from a Malaysian resort in Sipadan on 23 April.

The military assault had been criticised by the French government, which

feared for the safety of the two journalists.

For further information, contact Roselle Miranda, c/o Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), Unit 2, No. 9 Twin Peaks Drive, Blue Ridge B, Quezon City, Philippines 1110, tel: +63 2 438 5728, fax: +63 2 647 0945, e-mail:, Internet:

The information contained in this alert update is the sole responsibility of CMFR. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit CMFR. _________________________________________________________________
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