Pope urges Abu Sayyaf to free hostages

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI Monday urged the Abu Sayyaf group to free three Red Cross workers they kidnapped 10 weeks ago, the Vatican said in a communique.

The pontiff “wants to raise his voice and urge that humanitarian sensibility and reason prevail over violence and intimidation,” the statement said.

It followed a threat issued by their captors to behead one of the hostages unless Manila ceded control of the island of Jolo.

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