Philippines’ Aquino vows to ‘neutralize’ Abu Sayyaf kidnappers


MANILA: Philippine President Benigno Aquino vowed Wednesday to launch a military assault aimed at “neutralizing” Abu Sayyaf Islamic militants who beheaded a Canadian hostage and are holding more than 20 other foreigners.

“Casualties are to be expected. But what has to be of utmost importance is neutralizing the criminal activities of the ASG,” Aquino said in a statement, referring to the Abu Sayyaf by a commonly used acronym.

Aquino released the statement after the severed head of Canadian John Ridsdel, kidnapped seven months ago from aboard a yacht, was dumped Monday on a street on Jolo, a remote southern island that is one of the Abu Sayyaf’s main strongholds.

“This murder was meant to terrorize our whole population. The Abu Sayyaf thought they could instill fear in us. Instead, they have galvanized us even further to ensure justice is meted out,” Aquino said. “We have always been open to talks with those who desire peace, but those who commit atrocities can expect the full might of the state.”

The Abu Sayyaf militants, whose leaders have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, are holding more than 20 other foreigners captive.

These include another Canadian, a Norwegian man and a Filipina who were abducted at the same time as Ridsdel at a marina near Davao, the biggest city in the southern Philippines and about 600 kilometers (370 miles) from Jolo.

The Abu Sayyaf is also believed to be holding a Dutch bird watcher kidnapped from a southern Philippine island in 2012, as well as 18 Indonesian and Malaysian sailors abducted over the past month.

Aquino said the captives were under the control of Radullan Sahiron, one of the Abu Sayyaf’s founders famous for losing one arm in battle against the military.

He said Sahiron had consolidated his forces around himself and the captives in Sulu, a small Muslim-populated archipelago about 1,000 kilometers from Manila. Jolo is the biggest island in Sulu.

“This presents both a problem and an opportunity. It is a problem because of the sizeable force surrounding Sahiron and the captives, but it is also an opportunity because smashing these forces is within our grasp,” Aquino said.

The Abu Sayyaf is a radical offshoot of a Muslim separatist insurgency in the south of the mainly Catholic Philippines that has claimed more than 100,000 lives since the 1970s.

It is believed to have just a few hundred militants but has withstood repeated US-backed military offensives against it, surviving by using the mountainous jungle terrain of the southern islands to its advantage.

Although the Abu Sayyaf’s leaders have pledged allegiance to Islamic State, analysts say it is mainly focused on kidnappings for ransom.

Abu Sayyaf gangs have earned many millions of dollars from kidnapping foreigners and locals since the early 1990s. AFP



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  1. John was a very decent kind and honest guy. And yet he was murdered by criminals pretending to be Islamic extemists….just cowards, thieves and extortionists!
    Benigno Aquino III, let this happen, he has the power of the Police & the Military but did absolutely nothing.
    Let’s see if the next President of the Philippines has the guts to stand up. Let’s see if Justin Pierre James Trudeau is even half the man his father was ! “This was an act of cold-blooded murder, and responsibility rests squarely with the terrorist group that took him hostage,” Trudeau said. “The government of Canada is committed to working with the government of the Philippines and international partners to pursue those responsible for this heinous act and bring them to justice.” When ?
    Do something about it now !!!!
    Take them out !!!

    Take their eyes, hands & feet from them all, it’s what they deserve. Everyone knows exactly where they are right now. Do something now.

    I’m a Canadian citizen, I’m a business man & investor here in the Philippines. I was planning a trip to Samal Island the very day the kidnappings accured. I changed my mind at the last minute because I didn’t want to risk missing my flight that evening back to Manila. Little did I know that a bit of site seeing could have lead to being kidnapped and murdered. I’m telling you that I would have not been taken alive, this is for sure, for sure.
    I hope the next time Abu Sayyaf Islamic militants kidnap the wrong person.

    • the Phil.Pres. Aquino sure really allowed this to happened. i do agree with your statement that Aquino got the police and the military power to stop this but didn’t do it. He is following the his late mom did and that is to establish his legacy of peace which is a shameful failure. (cory aquino made a peace agreement with the CPLA in the cordilleras…) and that is what this present president is following leading to these foolish and stupid adventures with the muslims down south…