Filipino Guerrillas Free U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, Japanese Worker

From Times Wire Services

Communist guerrillas on Thursday freed an American Peace Corps volunteer and a Japanese aid worker but warned Washington and Tokyo to stay out of the Philippine insurgency or more of their citizens would be seized.

Timothy Swanson, 26, of Cheyenne, Wyo., and Japanese aid worker Fumio Mizuno, 36, were released separately by the Communist New People's Army during a three-day truce on the central island of Negros.

"I am happy it's over. I'm OK, I'm OK," Swanson said before being whisked away by U.S. officials, who said he would be taken to Manila for a medical checkup.

Swanson was taken from his home in the Negros highlands June 13, shortly before the United States ordered the withdrawal of all 261 Peace Corps volunteers from the Philippines because of murder and kidnap threats by the rebels.

Mizuno, who was abducted May 29 while visiting a project funded by a private Japanese aid group, wept in the arms of his wife and two daughters after he was freed.

After the pair's release, the NPA accused U.S. and Japanese aid organizations of helping the Philippine government in its fight to rout the rebels, who have been waging a 21-year insurgency.

President Bush, who met briefly with Swanson's parents when he visited Cheyenne on July 20, called Thursday morning with his best wishes, they said.

In Cheyenne, Swanson's father, Leonard, said, "It's just wonderful. I'd like to thank everybody for getting him released."

His mother, Lynn, said she was planning to bake a rhubarb pie and stock up on steaks to celebrate her son's homecoming.

"He'll be well-fed when he gets home, I can guarantee that," she said.

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