Members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) are constantly moving their latest kidnap victims between Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in a bid to confuse pursuing government troops, a police intelligence officer disclosed on Monday.
The Manila-based intelligence officer who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to discuss the case said the Chinese tourist and a Filipina resort worker abducted a week ago from a resort in Semporna, Sabah were being transported in speedboats to the islands of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
“They’re doing this to confuse troops and while negotiations are ongoing,” the intelligence officer said.
The two women were snatched by seven heavily-armed men. Authorities said the gunmen could be members of the Sawajaan, a subgroup of the ASG based in Patikul, Sulu.
The police source added that the victims may have been taken by their captors nearer to a camp of the Moro National Liberation Front in Sulu as added security.
The ASG is the smallest, but the most vicious of all threat groups operating in the southern Philippines. It has been blamed for bombings and kidnappings in the past.