Kidnap victim Warren Rodwell, gone, but not forgotten

A FORMER Tamworth man taken hostage in the Phillipines 10 months ago remains at the mercy of his captors. 

Warren Rodwell’s extended family is desperately continuing to raise funds to pay his ransom. 

National media first reported Mr Rodwell had been taken captive from his home in the coastal town of Ipil on Mindanao Island by at least four gunmen posing as police on December 5 last year. 

In the time since his capture national media outlets have reported Mr Rodwell may be being held on the southern Philippine island of Basilan which is under the control of Abu Sayyaf Islamic militants led by terrorist commander Puruji Indama.

At that time he was taken ransom of $US23,000 was demanded from Mr Rodwell’s new Filipino wife.

In the time since though his extended family in Australia say the amount has increased considerably. 

A proof-of-life video of Mr Rodwell was released by his captors in March but little has been heard by family members since. 

At the time the video was released a spokesman form the Department of Forrign Affairs and Trade welcomed the video.

But the department failed to comment further, saying any other details of the video, or other aspects of the case and its handling were “not helpful” to Mr Rodwell’s interests.

The March ransom video was the second made by his captors.

In January similar footage was sent to Mr Rodwell’s wife.

Feeling all but powerless to do anything more to help, extended family members are seeking help from the public to raise money for the demanded ransom. 

Mr Rodwell’s cousin, wishing only to be identified as Susan, said while nothing was known about his condition she still held hope for his survival. 

“He had a tough upbringing and his military training would have equipped him with determination and resilience,” she said. 

“We are all hopeful that those qualities will in some way wear down his captors.”

Mr Rodwell’s wife, who was in protected police custody after his capture, was provided with photos of her husband at Christmas time. 

“We hoped that at that time he would be home in time for Christmas,” Susan said. 

Prior to travelling to the Philippines with his  wife, Mr Rodwell had been teaching English in China.

In the years prior to that he had also travelled and taught English in other countries including Japan and Korea. 

“That’s where he met his new wife,” Susan said. 

“They moved to the Philippines to be closer to her family.”

“He has always been a careful traveller,” Susan said. 

In the time since Mr Rodwell’s capture his extended family have sought advice from others who have had relative abducted overseas.

“It’s more common than one might think,” Susan said. 

“People are really uneducated about how often this happens and are almost unaware that it does.”

Susan said support from a number of different government departments was helping the family to get through the ordeal. 

“Really I think it’s a matter of doing what you can and supporting each other,” she said.

Susan encouraged members of the public willing to donate to free Mr Rodwell to contact her on 67657453.

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