|Philippines||CHILDREN, TEACHERS, PRIEST REMAIN AT MERCY OF KIDNAPPERS|
New demands by Muslim extremists who kidnapped children, school staff and a priest in the southern Philippines may mean a long wait in resolving the standoff, a local Church official says.
Khadafy Janjalani, leader of the kidnappers, has demanded the release of Ramzi Yousef and two others serving life terms in the United States for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center building in New York City.
On Saturday he wrote to President Joseph Estrada: "The fate of the parish priest, teachers and school children lies in your decision as the head of the state, the father of this people."
Janjalani requested Estrada to send "representatives directly from the Vatican, and three ambassadors from the Middle East" to hostage negotiations in Basilan province, 870 km southeast of Manila.