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By Werner Wallert

Easter Sunday, 23 April 2000. Time: 19.50. A diver s paradise in Malaysia turns in seconds right into a tropical hell for the Wallert relatives. An extremist Islamic insurgent team takes them hostage and they're transferred to the Philippine island of Jolo. the times, after which months, develop into a torture for the hostages because the rigorously deliberate commando operation attempts to extort political concessions and funds from the Philippine govt. Ten divers from Germany, France, South Africa, Lebanon and Finland, and 11 resort staff and WWF rangers locate themselves political chips of Philippine and overseas politics and of the media because the destiny of the writer, his spouse Renate, his son Marc, their fellow captives and the seriously armed hostage-takers is day-to-day for weeks through newshounds and the media. This real tale tells the reviews of the hostages what they lived via and suffered, and their hopes, anxieties and disappointments. Marc Wallert was once the final member of the writer s family members to be freed. The final chapters seize what lifestyles is like as a short-term-celebrity after the discharge.

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But they wave happily. The ceasefire is doing its job. Night has already fallen when we take a short break. People come up to us from the houses nearby. They have hardly made out the jeeps with the “Melikans” before we experience the first repercussions of our VIP existence. ” is the first question. Sonia did all the talking in the most recent interviews for the Philippine TV team. With her long, wavy hair, she has already become a local TV star. Marie is also addressed immediately by name. ” What did Walid prophesy?

But now I cannot creep up on my subject. In one instance they even proudly present their portable artillery, a type of bazooka that shoots grenades. It proves how attached to weaponry these fighters are. Weapons are part of their everyday lives. Marc sits from time to time with fighters of his own age, some of whom speak quite good English. ” It’s generally answered spontaneously in the affirmative. Guarding the hostage group offers them a welcome change from their monotonous routine lives at home.

Many of them, as they admit themselves, are simply frightened for their lives. Understandably. So are we. After a quarter of an hour, it’s quiet again. We set off once again in the same direction, short distances at a time, Renate on her stretcher, the commanders in front and hostages behind, forming the head of a long column. Quite evidently, we are their life insurance. We are human shields for the guerrillas. But after our recent encounters with the Philippine army we have our doubts whether that would stop them from firing at the rebels when they discovered the hostages among them.

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