AMID reports that one of four hostages of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) may be beheaded, President Benigno Aquino 3rd ordered the military and police to rescue the captives, Malacañang said Monday.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the President directed Acting Armed Forces chief Glorioso Miranda and Philippine National Police chief Ricardo Marquez “to conduct appropriate military and law enforcement operations to effect the rescue of the hostages.”
“Maximum efforts are being exerted by a joint AFP-PNP task group to effect the rescue of four hostages who were kidnaped in Samal island last October 2015 after the ASG announced the possible beheading of one of its hostages. This follows intensified anti-ASG operations in Basilan and Sulu in recent weeks,” Coloma told reporters
Local officials, he said, were also instructed to “extend cooperation to the joint task group and ensure the safety of citizens in the affected communities.”
Two Canadians, a Norwegian and a Filipina were abducted by the rebel group seven months ago from a popular resort on Samal Island.
Canadians John Risdel and Robert Hall, Filipina Tess Flor, 48, and Kjartan Sekkingstad, 56, a Norwegian resort manager, were seized in a sea-borne raid on the Holiday Oceanview Marina on the island.
The ASG, which pledged allegiance the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), had set a deadline for the payment of ransom for the Westerners.
The group also snatched 18 Indonesian and Malaysian sailors on coal tugboats last month.