Communist rebels said Saturday they will soon release a kidnapped Peace Corps volunteer and a Japanese technician to representatives of the International Red Cross.
In a letter to retired Catholic Bishop Antonio Fortich, who has been negotiating for the hostages' freedom, the rebels outlined the arrangements for the release of Timothy Swanson, 26, of Cheyenne, Wyo. and Fumio Mizuno, 36, of Japan.Negotiators said they found the letter authentic.
"The New People's Army wishes to announce that it shall release from its custody the persons of Mr. Fumio Mizuno and Mr. Timothy Swanson in the immediate future."according to the letter.
Swanson was kidnapped June 13 and Mizuno, training director of the Tokyo-based Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement, was abducted May 29 on Negros island, 300 miles south of Manila.
The letter said the hostages were safe but did not set a date or place for the release. Negotiators said they expected them to be freed sometime next week.
The letter also said the release should be carried out during a three-day cease-fire and witnessed by the IRC, the wives of the two, doctors, human-rights lawyers and members of the news media. Government soldiers must not be present, it said.
The rebels strongly denied statements by armed forces chief Renato de Villa they had asked for $217,000 ransom and they warned the military against sabotaging the release.
They demanded that the letter be aired over the radio for two days as a signal that their demands had been accepted. Fortich said the request would be met.