Authorities mum on fate of 2 Sayyaf captives

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: Malaysian     authorities have wanted to establish contact with Filipino kidnappers holding two Malaysians, reports said on Friday.

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It said Sabah Police Commissioner Hamza Taib was quoted by Malaysia Chronicle as saying that they wanted to re-establish contact with the captors of palm plantation manager Chong Wei Fei, 33, and his cousin and assistant manager Chong Wei Jie, 25, who were kidnapped in November 13 in Lahad Datu town.

Five gunmen, disguised as policemen, seized the two men while inspecting the plantation. The kidnappers dragged the duo on a boat and fled towards the province of Tawi-Tawi.

The kidnappers have sent a photograph by e-mail of the two men holding a piece of paper marked March 7, 2013. The photo also showed two rifles trained on the men by their captors.

Reports said ransom negotiations for the safe release of the hostages were disrupted by the intrusion of Sulu Sultanate forces in Lahad Datu which eventually ended in a fierce battle that left dozens of people dead.

Malaysian authorities believed the Abu Sayyaf was behind the kidnappings and the hostages are still alive.

“It is good news for their families and we pray for their well-being. But the case again shows how weak is our security in East Malaysia where the borders are so porous that foreign thugs can enter at will and whisk away our citizens for ransom,” PKR Vice President Chua Jui Meng told the Malaysia Chronicle.

“It is time for Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government do more than just put our fires. There must be a better and more cohesive plan to protect our citizens in Sabah and Sarawak.”

There was no immediate statement from the Philippine government about the Malaysian hostages. The Abu Sayyaf is still holding several foreigners and Filipino captives in the southern region. And Manila has not released any progress reports on the Abu Sayyaf hostages.

In 2010, suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen also kidnapped two Malaysian seaweed farmers—Vui Chung, 42, and Lai Wing Chau, 33—in a daring raid on Sem-porna near Lahad Datu and brought them to Tawi-Tawi where they had been ransomed off for two million ringgits.

And on 2001, the Abu Sayyaf raided the island-resort of Sipadan and seized 21 mostly Western holidaymakers and ransomed them off to Malaysia and Libya for millions of dollars.

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