Saturday, April 26, 2014

Kidnapped Chinese tourist, Filipina resort worker held by Sayyaf in Philippines

From the Mindanao Examiner BlogSpot site (Apr 26): Kidnapped Chinese tourist, Filipina resort worker held by Sayyaf in Philippines

Philippine police remain silent over reports that a Chinese woman and a Filipina resort worker kidnapped from a post resort in Sabah in Malaysia are being held captive in the southern island of Sulu.

Malaysia has tagged an Abu Sayyaf group also linked to previous ransom kidnappings in Sabah as behind the latest raid and kidnapping of the 29-year old Chinese holidaymaker Gao Huayun, 29, and Marcy Dayawan, 40, from Singamata Adventures and Reef Resort in the town of Semporna in Sabah on April 2.

The duo is being held in a jungle lair by the Abu Sayyaf militants, whose group is being tied to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya, blamed for the spate of terrorism and kidnappings in the Philippines.

The victims were first brought by their captors led by Murphy Ladja to the Filipino province of Tawi-Tawi before escaping by boat to Sulu and handed the hostages to another Abu Sayyaf group under Alhabsi Misaya in Mount Taran in Sulu’s Indanan town.

Other reports said a Filipina woman, Sugar Diane Buenviaje, is also being held captive by Misaya’s group. The 33-year old woman, whose family owns Cagayan Enterprises and General Merchandise, was kidnapped in Tawi-Tawi’s Mapun town on February this year. Misaya was also tagged as behind the series of bombings in Sulu in recent years.

Director-General Datuk Mohammad Mentek, of the Eastern Sabah Security Command, said the Chinese woman and the Filipina resort worker are being held by Abu Sayyaf militants who were also involved in the 2000 kidnappings of 21 mostly European holidaymakers and Asian workers at the Pulau Sipadan resort; and also in the kidnapping in November of a Taiwanese woman on Pom Pom Island, according to a report by Malaysia’s online newspaper The Star.

Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamid said the kidnappers have demanded P500 million ransom in exchange for the safe release of the Chinese woman, who photograph sent by her captors was also received by her family.

Sulu police chief Superintendent Abraham Orbita declined to confirm nor deny the reports. “Let’s keep silent about that,” he told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

The military’s Western Mindanao Command said the navy has joined the search for the duo. “We are exerting efforts to search and locate the kidnapped victims in probable areas in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi where they could have been brought. Naval Task Force 62 is now conducting extensive search while other units in the area have been in high alert,” marine Captain Maria Rowena Myuela, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command, said.

The Abu Sayyaf was largely blamed for the daring raid on the posh Pulau Sipadan resort in 2000 where they kidnapped 21 people and ransomed them off to Malaysia and Libya for at least $25 million.

In November, the Abu Sayyaf kidnapped a Taiwanese tourist Chang An Wei, 58, after killing her husband Hsu Li Min, 57, in a daring cross-border raid in Sabah’s Pom Pom Island.  The woman was eventually released a month later near the village of Liban in Talipao town in Sulu after paying ransom. The Abu Sayyaf has resorted to ransom kidnappings to raise money for the purchase weapons and fund terror attacks in the Philippines.

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