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Kidnapped Australian man holds 'no hope' of release

Posted by: Ellen Feely | 27 December, 2012 - 12:48 PM
Warren Rodwell: I personally hold no hope at all for being released.

Over a year after being captured by by an al-Qaeda linked terrorist group in The Philippines, Australian man Warren Rodwell has appeared on video as proof he is still alive.

In the video, Mr Rodwell says he does not expect to be released before 2013 and holds no trust in neither his Abu Sayyaf captors nor the Australian government.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Should the Australian government negotiate with terrorists when an Australian's life is at stake? Comment below

"I personally hold no hope at all for being released," he says.

Filipino intelligence officials said they believe the video is authentic.

Mr Rodwell appears in the video holding a local newspaper dated on 15th December, and said the video had been produced the following day.

Mr Rodwell was captured by six gunmen on 5th December, 2011 in southern Zamboanga Sibugay province. An initial ransom of $US23,000 was demanded from his wife, but was later raised to $2 million. According to police, his wife has no way of raising the funds.

Last year, Age journalist Lindsay Murdoch told 3AW Mr Rodwell had been warned he was at risk of being captured and slept with a gun under his bed.

In 2009, former Greens leader Bob Brown combined with millionaire Dick Smith to personally paid the ransom for the release of photojournalist Nigel Brennan, who had been held hostage by terrorists in Somalia. 

Speaking with Nick McCallum, Clive Williams counter-terrorism Professor from Macquarie University said if the Australian government were to pay the ransom, it would make all Australian nationals an attractive target.

"At some stage, some money is going to have to be paid but obviously it's not going to come from the government," he said.

"But what the government can do is to act as a facilitator in negotiations with the Abu Sayyaf group through local Philippines intermedaries."

Professor Wililams said the terrorists would need to downgrade their expectations to around the $50,000 mark, and said the video would have been released to hurry up the negotiating process.

"(The video) shows that while he is still alive, he's obviously in flailing health so that's to put more pressure on people to get moving on this," he said.

"Essentially, they don't want to hold people any longer than they have to because they've got to feed them and look after them for them to be of any value to them."

LISTEN: Professor Clive Williams speaks with Nick McCallum:

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Blog comments Your Say

  • janet they encourage them to live here!

    rob puljic Saturday 29 December, 2012 - 7:36 PM
  • Hopefully Mr Rodwell's release is secured before his physical and mental health deteriorate even further.

    However, that Mr. Rodwell became resident in an area where ASG operates is really reckless and dare I say stupid. I am not aware of Mr. Rodwell's army service - corps, length of service, rank attained, specialist training and so forth. But, taking unnecesary risk as an individual civilian is quite different to calculated risk as a soldier with support.

    I would suggest Mr Rodwell discards the International Adventurer tag and becomes a little more pedestrian just as soon he is released. Get you health back, sit at the beach and write a book. If you must stay in Philippines, I think Subic or Boracay may be a little more appealing.

    But you are not bullet proof!

    jake Friday 28 December, 2012 - 4:23 PM
  • If only he'd been caught trying to smuggle drugs in a boogie bag...

    Sorry, no hope, alas Friday 28 December, 2012 - 2:58 PM
  • On some TV show they said that he was told to leave or he would be captured. This man decided to stay anyway. If true, then he is responsible for his predicament now.
    Why do people ignore warnings and then when in trouble want others to do whatever it takes to help them?
    I agree that if Australian government paid ransom it would endanger every Australian out there. On the other hand if this was my relative I might think differently.
    I just don't get it. Why do Australians keep insisting on going into these dangerous areas when we have plenty of proof of the danger we face.
    Like I said, if he was already warned to leave then he should've listened.

    Peggy Friday 28 December, 2012 - 10:02 AM
  • Just heard this on drive with Nick, as usual Nick does not check facts.....

    He is an Australian that lives and works in the Philippines in one of the most dangerous areas in the south, He chose to be there,no one to blame but himself.
    There are warnings in the Philippines about where to go and where to stay away from and also on the DFAT website.
    What does he expect Australia to do? the Philippine Army and Police are in constant conflict with these terrorists, they fear for their lives and they are armed, why would you even go there?
    Pretty bloody stupid!!!!!!

    mike f Thursday 27 December, 2012 - 6:45 PM
  • No, the Govt should not pay ransom for any Australian citizen held hostage it would only encourage the terrorists to kidnap more people and in this case Rodwell was warned not to go there. Anyway there is no way that Govt Intelligence is going to tell the public and most certainly not any journalists, what they are doing re negotiations.

    Willow Thursday 27 December, 2012 - 6:12 PM

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