• Abu Sayyaf strikes again

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    13 Indonesian sailors abducted off Tawi-Tawi

    ZAMBOANGA CITY: Suspected Abu Sayyaf militants seized 13 Indonesian sailors off the southern Philippine province of Tawi-Tawi two weeks after they released four Malaysian hostages for ransom.

    The kidnapped sailors were crewmembers of tugboat Charles OO.

    Indonesian media reported that the boat captain phoned his wife and told her that gunmen who introduced themselves as Abu Sayyaf intercepted them at sea on Wednesday then demanded 20 million ringgits for their safe release.

    The militants and their hostages were last seen heading to Tawi-Tawi, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region. There was no immediate statement from the boat owner, PT Rusianto Brothers.

    The tugboat was on its way to Samarinda in East Kalimantan following a trip from the Philippines when it was intercepted. The hostages were reportedly formed into two groups by their Abu Sayyaf abductors.

    A Philippine envoy who declined to be named confirmed the abduction.

    “In fact, a minister from Indonesia has just called Secretary [Jose Rene] Almendras a while ago,” the envoy said.

    The official said the rebel group has been carrying on its kidnapping activity because of the willingness of Indonesians and Malaysians to pay ransom.

    The latest abduction occurred after the terror group beheaded Canadian Robert Hall, whose government maintains a no-ransom policy.

    “The problem with the Indonesians, and also Malaysians…they throw money at the problem in the hope that the problem goes away with the money,” he said, adding, “They’ve been doing that for the longest time.”

    The families of four Malaysian sailors who were freed on June 7 were reported to have paid P130 million ransom to the rebel group. However, only P100 million reached the bandits.

    The missing amount fueled suspicions that the rebels may be in cahoots with government officials from Malaysia and the Philippines who may have shared the money among themselves.

    According to two highly placed senior Philippine government officials, the payment of ransom was confirmed by Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who said the families and friends of the victims raised RM12 million (roughly $2.9 million) for the freedom of brothers Wong Teck Kang, 31, and Teck Chii, 29; their cousin Johnny, 21; and co-worker Wong Hung Sing, 34.

    The four were abducted off Sabah on April 1.

    The ASG is still holding a Norwegian, Dutch, Chinese and seven Filipinos.

    With Michael Joe T. Delizo

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    11 Comments

    1. the Duterte administration should continue the AFP modernization especially Navy. they need more MPACs. and patrol these areas 24/7.

    2. patrick reyes on

      Si digong magaling lang hangang durogista pero walang magawa sa abu sayaf, panay salita, aber tingnan natin kung kaya nya ang abu sayaf, pati na si bato palaging nagpa presscon pero anong sinabi parti ng abu sayaf wala din.

    3. Wow ang dami na pera ng ASG. Pahingi naman kme. Suggest ko lang why don’t you try to kidnap Chinese people…. mas marami sila ditto sa pinas and marami mga pera yan kaya kahit araw araw kayo humingi ng ransom eh may ibibigay cla. Isn’t a good idea…… inaagaw nga nila yung teritoryo ng pinas eh…. tapos nkakapg patayo pa ng island for nuclear…. #abductpamore #pugotulopamore #hingiransompamore

    4. Juan T. Delacruz on

      Since the Philippine government is hesitant in sending its troops to rescue the hostages, it should allow the Indonesian Special Forces to invade Sulu and to perform rescue operations in the province. It might produce a higher number of casualties? If the end result of this operation produces civilian casualties caught in crossfires, well, be it and consider it as a collateral damage. Are there any Navy or Coastguard vessels operating in the waters of Sulu?

      The Governor of Sulu is maybe involved in this activity because he’s not doing extraordinary effort in stopping these kidnapping activities. Phil. Army soldiers were complaining onetime about the rough terrain they have to go through when they go after the ASG. What alternative left? Send Indonesian Special Forces Unit to neutralize or eliminate the ASG.

    5. Ignacio Balbutin on

      yes, fast crafts equip with surface to surface missiles to blast these bandits to smithereens

    6. Jolo Sulu is the kidnapping capital of the world.. Shame on us, we let them flourish like mushrooms in our back yard. There is no competent military leader to stop this. Question ,,, the Philippine Military Academy, what can they say about this ? They are the vanguard of our nation.

    7. The answer to kidnapping is not to pay any ransom period. Once ransom is paid, the kidnappers will do it again. To Pilipinos and foreigners, do not visit that area. They can go in and out because of the multiple islands and they have protectors like MILF and MNLF and some in the Military. That is a devil forsaken place. The economy there will go down. No tourism, no business and that is the result of these kidnappings. To the kidnappers, please do not use Islam as your reason. It is just pure unadulterated evil.

    8. What’s worth a try is set up some “sting” vessels to be properly armed to engage and capture the kidnappers. Of course secrecy is the key in any operation such as this. But worth a try. After one successful capture, the risk is whether the victim is a trap. In my opinion this would discourage these kidnapping missions.

    9. Do not be surprise if the Indonesian , Malaysian military invades Sulu. There is Anarchy in that area. What s happening with our military ? Are they part of the ransom money paid ?

    10. asaan na iyung tapang ni duterte? Ni hindi makapagsalita sa mga pinaggagawa ng abu sayaff. Iyan ang bigyan niya ng sampol..

    11. The problem with ASG abduction is Pilipinas. Du30 has to do something to stop the ASG’s from sailing in and out so freely of their hideouts into the open seas for kidnap/ransom. At least, Du30 should get 8 to 12 small-craft patrol boats (like the 28-foot BFAR boats) into Tawi-Tawi and Sulu seas for patrols and to blockage Basilan and Sulu against ASG kidnap-for-ransom projects.