He had almost lost hope of walking away from captivity. But, as Italian Red Cross worker Eugenio Vagni was reunited with his family in Manila, he could at last be sure his hostage ordeal was over. Freed after nearly six months in the hands of Islamist rebels in the southern Philippines, Vagni says the thought of seeing his loved ones again helped keep him alive.
“That gives you big strength because you know that your family is there waiting for you,” Vagni said. “You just work and you adapt to the situation. You have to. You have no choice. And you survive everything.” Authorities have dismissed speculation that a ransom was paid. It is reported they may have handed over two detained wives of a senior rebel leader in return for Vagni’s liberation. Abu Sayyaf militants kidnapped Vagni and two colleagues in January. His fellow hostages were released in April.