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The BBC's John McLean
"Libya has agreed to pay several million dollars for the release of the hostages"
 real 56k

Monday, 11 September, 2000, 21:30 GMT 22:30 UK
Philippines hostages 'raped'
Risto Vahanen arriving in Libya
Risto Vahanen says the women want their ordeal to be publicised - but not their names
One of the four former hostages freed by Muslim rebels on Saturday after 20 weeks held in the Philippines said the kidnappers raped some of the female captives.

Risto Vahanen told Finnish TV the women did not want their names revealed but wanted the incident made public.

He arrived with three other hostages in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on Monday.

The fate of two Frenchmen still held hostage remains uncertain.

Jean-Jacques Le Garrec
French TV journalist Jean-Jacques Le Garrec is still held hostage
Those released - German Marc Wallert, Frenchman Stephane Loisy and Finns Seppo Franti and Risto Vahanen - were among 21 people kidnapped from the Malaysian resort of Sipadan by rebels of the Abu Sayyaf rebel group on 23 April.


Mr Vahanen said: "Some, a few, women there were treated in an inappropriate manner." He answered "yes" when asked if they had been raped.

The other hostages were powerless to help the women, he said.

Ghalib Andang
Abu Sayyaf leader Ghalib "Robot" Andang - blamed for the rapes
Mr Vahanen said the raped women did not want to be identified but wanted the assaults made public.

"They were of the opinion that it had to be made public, without names, so that the world would know what Robot had done, he said.

The leader of Abu Sayyaf is known as Ghalib "Robot" Andang.

"It was quite surprising because otherwise we were treated in a proper way," Mr Vahanen added.

Remaining captives

They were held in a jungle camp on the island of Jolo in the southern Philippines.

Jolo 150 map
All but one of the Sipadan group has now been freed.

Their release had been negotiated by Libya, which is reported to have paid ransoms worth millions of dollars.

One Filipino remains in captivity from the original Sidapan group along with two French journalists who were seized while reporting on the hostage drama.

Around 15 other Filipinos are also being held captive by the rebels.

The Abu Sayyaf is the smaller of two rebel groups fighting for an independent Islamic state in the predominantly Catholic Philippines.

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See also:

11 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Ransoms 'fuelled' Philippine kidnaps
11 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Freed hostages arrive in Libya
10 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Kidnappers' rift holds up Jolo releases
01 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Rebels seek $10m for US hostage
02 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Who are the Abu Sayyaf hostage-takers?
09 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Timeline: The Jolo hostage drama
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