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Red Cross visits workers abducted in Philippines

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  • Red Cross in touch with workers kidnapped in Philippines a month ago
  • Three aid staff are said to be in good heatlth
  • Trio were seized in January on island of Sulu
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(CNN) -- Three Red Cross workers kidnapped nearly a month ago in the Philippines are in regular touch with the aid agency and seem to be in good health, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The ICRC also is in direct contact with the kidnappers and has visited the hostages at least once, the aid agency said. The Red Cross would not comment on whether it is involved in negotiations to secure their release.

Mary-Jean Lacaba, Eugenio Vagni and Andreas Notter were seized by men armed with machine guns and riding motorcycles January 15 on the island of Sulu, the ICRC said.

They were in the region to inspect a provincial prison and were going to the airport when they were kidnapped, the ICRC said.

"We speak to Mary-Jean, Eugenio and Andreas on a relatively regular basis and have had contact by phone several times this week, as has been the case throughout their ordeal," Alain Aeschlimann, the ICRC's head of operations for the region, said last week.

"They sound like they're doing as well as can be expected and tell us they remain in good health."

The vice governor of Sulu, Lady Ann Sahidulla, who also is the head of the Red Cross chapter in Sulu, visited the hostages January 28 and said they were "fine and in good health."

Aeschlimann said the three also have been able to call their loved ones.

Several Islamic militant groups, some with ties to al Qaeda, are active in the southern Philippines. It is unclear who is responsible for the abductions.

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