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MILF to go after Abu kidnappers

‘They’ve gone too far’


AFP FILE PHOTO

OZAMIZ CITY—The secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said it was seriously disappointed with the continued violation of Islamic laws by the Abu Sayyaf, particularly the group’s kidnap-for-ransom activities.

The self-styled Islamist group, which is allied with the Jemaah Islamiyah regional terror network, has been blamed for the disappearance of the Bansil sisters—Nadjoua and Linda—who were in Sulu to shoot a documentary on the Sulu Sultanate.

The MILF said it has mobilized its people in Sulu “to do whatever is necessary to secure the early release” of the Bansil sisters.

Punitive action

The instruction given to MILF field commanders in Sulu included the use of force if necessary and to conduct punitive actions after the victims are freed, according to a ranking MILF official who spoke on condition of anonymity for lack of authority to speak on the matter.

“The Abu Sayyaf had gone too far this time,” the source said.

In a statement posted on its website on Wednesday, the MILF said it has asked its “political and military organs in the island province of Sulu” to help in the efforts to rescue the Bansil sisters.

The Bansil sisters, who are Filipino-Algerians, were abducted in Barangay (village) Liang in Patikul last Saturday.

According to the MILF statement, the sisters are the daughters of the late Ustadz Abdulbassit Bansil, a Maguindanaon, and his Algerian wife.

Not rich

Abdulbasset was a close associate of Nur Misuari, the founding chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front, and the late MILF chief Salamat Hashim.

The Bansil family is not rich, the MILF said. “The family has a meager income to this day,” it said.

Senior Insp. Conrad Gutierrez, the Patikul police chief, said the night before the abduction, the Bansil sisters spent time in Barangay Sinumaan, a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, and were hosted by a certain Sultan Bantilan Mauzidin.

Along with 19 other locals, they left Jolo on June 20 and went to the village of Danag in Patikul and stayed overnight in Sinumaan, he said.

Gutierrez said Sinumaan is notorious for being an Abu Sayyaf lair and that even security forces “don’t go there without ample security.”

Lucky 9 faction

Authorities said the group responsible for the kidnapping was the so-called Lucky 9 faction of the Abu Sayyaf, which is  headed by Aljini Mundo, alias Ninok Sapari and Bensaudi Mundoc.

The MILF said it had received the same information.

Gutierrez said the authorities have talked to a man who claimed to be Sultan Bantilan, and the latter had asked the police and the military to maintain some distance as negotiations were going on with the kidnappers.

Abraham Idjirani, a spokesman for the Sultanate of Sulu, said he was not familiar with the Sultan Bantilan who hosted the Bansil sisters and that Sultan Jamalul Kiram III has no “caretaker.”

“Bantilan means caretaker or officer in charge. Right now we don’t have a caretaker,” Idjirani said.

Octavio Dinampo, a professor at the Western Mindanao University and a former Abu Sayyaf captive, said he knew of a man named Mauzidin Bantilan, one of the claimants to the title of Sulu Sultan and a distant relative of the Kirams.—Ryan Rosauro, Karlos Manlupig and Julie Alipala


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Tags: abu sayyaf , bansil sisters , Crime , kidnap for ransom , Kidnapping , Moro Islamic Liberation Front , Philippines




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