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Filipinos in Sabah urge Duterte: Help free hostages
Published on: Friday, May 13, 2016

Kota Kinabalu: A group of concerned Filipinos led by its Daily Express contributor in Sabah, Nikko Fabian, is urging Philippines president-elect Rodrigo Duterte to directly intervene to seek the release of four Malaysians held hostage by Abu Sayyaf militants in Southern Philippines.

Calling themselves "Concerned Filipinos in Sabah", the group, in an open letter via facebook, urged Duterte to give the matter top priority due to the imminent threat by Abu Sayyaf to behead the four if no ransom is forthcoming this month.

"In connection with your ascension to the presidency we are hoping that you will accord priority to one issue that is bothering the people in Malaysia right now," they said.

The four Malaysians were abducted by Abu Sayyaf gunmen in the waters off Ligitan Island in Sabah on April 1.

The group noted that the Abu Sayyaf had beheaded another Malaysian, Bernard Then, and again recently a Canadian, John Risdel, after their families and governments failed to meet the ransom demands.


"We strongly believe that such humanitarian action on your part will greatly contribute towards establishing firmer bilateral relations with Malaysia, particularly in view of the large number of Filipinos who have domiciled in Sabah and Malaysia through marriage or have found employment in various sectors," the group added.

The group suggested that Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding Chairman Nur Misuari could be engaged in negotiating the release of the hostages since he played a vital role in the recent release of 14 Indonesian sailors who were also abducted by the Abu Sayyaf.

"We also strongly believe that you may be the best person to heal the heart of Misuari who, we understand, feels betrayed by a former Malaysian Prime Minister who handed him over to the then Gloria Macapagal administration in international waters in early 2000 and his dissatisfaction with the ongoing Mindanao peace negotiations between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippines government," they said.

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