EXCLUSIVE: Sayyaf holds three kidnapped Indonesians in Sulu village
Published on: Friday, October 18, 2019
By: Stefyanie Myla Micheal, Zam Yusa
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Kota Kinabalu: The three Indonesian fishermen kidnapped in waters off Tambisan island, Lahad Datu on Sept 23, are being held by the Abu Sayyaf group led by a sub-leader wanted by the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) in a village in Indanan town, Sulu, southern Philippines, Daily Express has been able to confirm.

A terrorism researcher at Jakarta-based think-tank Galatea, Ulta Levenia Nababan, said the kidnappers are currently being held by Salip Mura's group. 

“They host the fishermen in Kabbon Maas village, Indanan town, Sulu province,” Ulta told Daily Express, citing inside information.

“The group initially consisted of only 10-20 persons but with the arrival of the kidnapped Indonesian fishermen, they increased their manpower to 50-60 fully armed members.”

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah in previous reports said the kidnappers had contacted one of the fishermen's family member twice to demand ransom.

Daily Express has learned that the notorious group had demanded ransom from their employer also.

“They [Abu Sayyaf] first asked the fishermen's employer to pay the ransom by contacting the fishermen's families,” said Ulta.

“But there is no vivid explanation until now about how the ransom money would be delivered.”

The group holding the fishermen may be subject to Philippine military operations soon.

“The Philippine authorities want to carry out military operations against them.” said Ulta.

Esscom Commander Datuk Hazani Ghazali confirmed to Daily Express that the fishermen are being held in Indanan.

“I can’t say who exactly the kidnappers were,” he said when contacted.

“[But] we know about the Indonesians' location in Indanan, which is definitely an area under Salip Mura.”

Salip is one of 18 men wanted by Esscom for transborder crimes.

People are known to have been abducted by pirates or kidnappers who later sold or handed their captors over to the Abu Sayyaf.

The three Indonesian fishermen - Maharudi Lunani, 48, Muhammad Farhan, 27, and Samiun Maneu, 27 - were kidnapped from a Sandakan-registered fishing trawler by seven masked gunmen travelling in two pump boats.

The gunmen fired at the crew and ordered the three fishermen to board their pump boat before heading towards the Tawi Tawi islands chain in southern Philippines near Sabah waters.

The last time the Philippine military launched operations to rescue kidnapped Malaysian and Indonesian fishermen was in April of this year; however, two of them were killed.

Malaysian Jari Abdullah succumbed to his gunshot wounds while being treated at a private hospital in Zamboanga City after he was shot by his Abu Sayyaf captors during the rescue operation by Philippine marines.

Indonesian Hariadin reportedly drowned during another rescue while his compatriot Heri Ardiansyah survived. 

The two Indonesians and their Abu Sayyaf captors were attempting to swim to another island from Simisa island off Sulu in a bid to escape when they were spotted by the pursuing marines.


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