From Malaya Business Insight (Apr 8): Fate of Abu Sayyaf captives known today
TODAY is the deadline set by the Abu Sayyaf for the payment of ransom for two Canadians, a Norwegian, and a Filipina it abducted from a resort in Samal Island in Davao del Norte in September last year.
The bandit group, which is asking P1 billion ransom for each of the hostages, has threatened to kill the captives.
“We are looking at it seriously and we continue to conduct our FMO (focused military operation) to address the situation and hopefully resolve the matter,” said Armed Forces chief Gen. Hernando Iriberri.
The captives – Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipina Marites Flor – were seized from the Oceanview Resort in Samal and brought to the island-province of Sulu.
Last month, a video of the hostages uploaded on the internet showed the foreigners appealing to authorities to heed the ransom demand or they will end up dead.
In the same video, one of the captors – whose face was covered – said authorities have until April 8 to negotiate and meet their demand.
Iriberri gave the assurance that operations are underway to secure the freedom of the hostages.
The Abu Sayyaf is keeping several other foreign and Filipino hostages in Sulu, a bailiwick of the bandit group.
Iriberri declined to give details “because it might even further endanger the kidnap victims.”
Iriberri reiterated the government’s no-ransom policy. “Our policy is very clear. We have a no-ransom policy. We are strictly abiding by it,” the AFP chief said.
Col. Noel Detoyato, chief of the AFP public affairs office, said government forces have intensified operations in Sulu to get the hostages. He also declined to provide details “for force protection.”
Told the Abu Sayyaf may harm the hostages, Detoyato said: “Whatever will happen to the hostages, it is their responsibility and we will hold them responsible, the kidnappers.”