Abu kidnappers seize 7 Indonesians
Suspected Abu Sayyaf militants have abducted seven crew members of an Indonesian tugboat that passed through the Sulu archipelago this week, a diplomatic source confirmed Thursday in Manila.
The sailors were seized at around 11 a.m., Wednesday, with the source saying that the Indonesian government was prepared to hand over an average of P13 million for each of the hostages.
The Abu Sayyaf is still holding captive Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipina Marites Flor, who were seized along with Canadians Robert Hall and John Ridsdel in September. Hall and Ridsel have both been beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf, a self-styled group of Islamic militants blamed for some of the country’s worst attacks.
The source said Manila has made a series of appeals to the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia to stop paying ransom to discourage the terrorist group.
“The problem about it [referring to kidnapping], is the Malaysians and Indonesians. If they see a problem, they throw money at the problem in the hope that the problem goes away with the money,” said the well-placed diplomatic source who requested anonymity.
He said the Malaysian government had recently paid P130 million for the release of its four nationals held captive by Abu Sayyaf in the jungle-clad southern region of Jolo.
The diplomat however said he believed that Abu Sayyaf would not behead nationals from Indonesia and Malaysia “because they are fellow Muslims.”
Apart from the Norwegian, the Abu Sayyaf is also holding hostages a Dutch, a Chinese and seven Filipinos.
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