A PHILIPPINE National Police source on Thursday disclosed that Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members in Sulu are on a shopping spree for gold and weapons.
The police intelligence officer based in Camp Crame said that they have received information from one of their assets that the supply of gold in Sulu is running low because of the purchases.
“Our alpha [asset]told us that the ASG’s and their wives are on a buying splurge for gold and weapons in Sulu,” said the source who requested not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak on the matter.
“It now appears that they [ASG] have indeed received the P250 million ransoms paid for the safe release of two German tourists that the group have seized from Palawan last April,” the source added.
The ASG released Germans Victor Okonek and Henrite Dielen on October 17 but it was not unknown if the P250 million ransom demanded by the kidnappers was paid.
On Tuesday, the ASG even posted on its Facebook account a photograph showing stacks of money in P1,000 bills, which they claimed was part of the ransom they got for the freedom of the Germans.
But the same source said the ASG only received P240 million.
“The missing P10 million might went to those who helped in the negotiation or to those who brought the ransom money to the ASG,” the source said without elaborating.
The Philippine government said there was no negotiation made for the release of the two Germans and the military insisted that the two hostages were released due to pressure mounted by government troops sent to rescue them.
Another source in Camp Crame said that aside from buying gold, a certain ASG sub-leader Alden Bagatti has started contacting some gun runners in Mindanao for the purpose of buying more weapons for the group.
The source added that Bagatti, the ASG sub-leader in charge of buying weapons, might end up buying arms and ammunition from the government.
Bagatti, the source said, is married to a daughter of military officer in Mindanao.