Abus kidnap German man in Tawi-tawi
ZAMBOANGA CITY—The Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf claimed that it was holding hostage a 70-year old German national, weeks after the bandit group released a Norwegian hostage apparently upon payment of a hefty ransom.
Muammar Askali alias Abu Ramie, a self-proclaimed spokesperson of the Abu Sayyaf, said the group was able to snatch two German tourists in Tawi-tawi, the country’s southernmost province.
“Unfortunately, the other one died. She tried to shoot us, so we shot her. She died,” Askali said in a brief phone conversation on Sunday morning.
Taken at gunpoint
During the phone call, Askali allowed the group’s new captive to talk to the Inquirer.
The man introduced himself as Juegen Kantner, 70. He identified his female companion only as Sabrina.
Kantner said they were taken at gunpoint at Tanjung Pisut in Tawi-tawi.
“Pirates took our boat and they took us. We asked help from the embassy to help us,” he told the Inquirer.
But Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, said the command had no information about the latest kidnapping.
A police report sent to the Inquirer said there was a kidnapping at Pegasus Reef, around 40 nautical miles from Taganak Island in Tawi-tawi.
The report from Malaysian Navy in Kota Kinabalu said an Indonesian vessel’s skipper, identified as Lautu Bin Laari, an Indonesian, was kidnapped on Nov. 5.
2 Indonesians kidnapped
The Star Online in Malaysia, however, reported that two Indonesian skippers had been abducted in two separate locations.
The Star Online also said Eastern Sabah Security commander Wan Abdul Bari Wan Khalid had confirmed the kidnapping.
“The incident happened on Saturday off Sandakan,” he said. “A group of five armed men abducted two fishing boat captains in separate raids on the high seas,” he said.
The gunmen also stole the crew’s handphones and the GPS systems on the boats.
The armed men took the skippers, aged 52 and 46, on a speedboat at 11:00 a.m. and 11:45 a.m., respectively, but left the crew behind.
“We do not know who carried out the latest abductions nor do we know where they may have been taken to. But we know it is a form of business for the kidnappers,” Abdul Bari added.
Fishermen in the area said gunmen attacked two fishing boats in waters between Mumiang and Kertam off Kinabatangan.
President Duterte is expected to discuss possible joint security operations with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Thursday, in a bid to stop the kidnappings along the two countries’ sea border.
The Abu Sayyaf is a loose network of militants formed in Mindanao in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network. The group has earned millions of dollars from kidnappings-for-ransom.
Military sources said the Abu Sayyaf were currently holding a Dutch, five Malaysians, two Indonesians and four Filipinos in their jungle stronghold. —WITH REPORTS FROM AFP AND THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
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