Cops file abduction raps vs Abu
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine National Police has filed criminal charges against five members of the Abu Sayyaf who allegedly abducted and held captive a German couple for months, releasing them only after supposedly receiving a P250-million ransom last month.
The PNP’s Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) said it filed the cases of kidnapping for ransom and serious illegal detention after the freed hostages were able to identify their kidnappers.
The cases against Abu Rami, alias “Amir;” Mundi Sawadjaan, alias “Mon;” Mudjappar Sawadjaan, alias “Longhair;” Yusop Jalmaan, alias “Yusofas Job;” and Roger Saji, alias “Abu Jannah,” were filed in the Department of Justice on Oct. 29, or 12 days following the release of Stefan Viktor Okonek and Henrike Dielen in Patikul, Sulu.
“The PNP chief has ordered an intensified legal offensive and manhunt operation against the Abu Sayyaf and these kidnappers,” AKG head Senior Supt. Roberto Fajardo told reporters in Camp Crame on Thursday.
Fajardo said they quickly filed the cases in hopes of securing an arrest warrant to pursue the bandits.
The AKG got the identities of the kidnappers from German couple, who were held for almost seven months after they were seized from their yacht in the waters of Palawan in April.
In a text message, Fajardo said that all the suspects were from Patikul, Sulu, and were identified by their victims through the police rogues gallery.
Abu Rami, who also reportedly went by the name Moammar Askali and was allegedly one of the terror group’s commanders, was tagged by the victims as the negotiator, making calls to the victims’ families and demanding ransom in exchange for their freedom.
Other John Does
The other suspects acted as guards throughout the hostages’ captivity, Fajardo said.
Several other John Does were included in the DOJ complaint, he said. A bounty for the five suspects was being worked out as the PNP was checking if there were existing warrants for them.
“We hope that the reward money will come out soon so it will be a ‘happy hunting’ for them. Of course, even without the reward, we will go after them as long as we have arrest warrants against them,” Fajardo said.
He said the police were still verifying the claim of the Abu Sayyaf that ransom had been paid. The Abu Sayyaf claimed that their P250 million ransom demand was met, which secured the hostages’ release.