ZAMBOANGA CITY – Abu Sayyaf rebels were demanding P100 million ransom for the safe release of 5 Malaysian sailors being held captive in southern Philippines, reports said.
The notorious grouped tied to the Islamic State did not give any ultimatum and released a photo which showed one of the hostages being surrounded by gunmen and probably taken in Sulu, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.
The five captives – Mohd Ridzuan Ismail, 32; Tayudin Anjut, 45; Mohd Zumadil Rahim, 23; Fandy Bakran, 26; and Abd Rahim Summas, 62 – were seized by the Abu Sayyaf from a Malaysian tugboat off Sabah’s Lahad Datu town during a daring cross-border raid in July.
The Abu Sayyaf has phoned the families of the hostages to demand ransoms, according to Malaysian media. There was no immediate statement from the Philippine military on the rebels’ demand, although it has repeatedly said that security forces were tracking down the Abu Sayyaf to rescue the kidnapped sailors – at least 2 dozen Indonesian and Vietnamese hostages are still being held by the group in the restive region.
Military propaganda claimed that over 300 rebels had been reportedly killed and wounded in Sulu and in nearby province of Basilan in fierce clashes in recent months.
President Duterte has ordered an intensified military campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and other jihadist groups operating on Mindanao Island, south of the Philippines in an effort tom put an end to the violence that affected tens of thousands of civilians in the autonomous region where Muslims are demanding a separate homeland. (Mindanao Examiner)
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