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Abu Sayyaf demands RM2.45mil for Indonesian trio in video
Published on: Thursday, November 21, 2019
By: Zam Yusa
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Kota Kinabalu: The Abu Sayyaf demanded RM2.45 million for the release of three Indonesian fishermen kidnapped from Lahad Datu waters in September in a Facebook video over the weekend, it was reported Thursday.

The video also shows the hostages appealing to their employers and the Indonesian government to rescue them, reported The Star.

Maharudin Lunani, 48, Muhammad Farhan, 27, and Samiun Maneu, 27, were kidnapped by seven armed men while catching prawns.

They are seen squatting in the video bare-chested with their hands tied up.

“The demand, made through one of the victims via a video recording, was released on Facebook last Saturday,” said the report.

“In the 43-second video, Samiun identified them as Indonesians and had worked in Malaysia. The ASG [Abu Sayyaf Group] has demanded 30 million pesos in ransom.”

“We were caught by the Abu Sayyaf Group on Sept 24, 2019, ” one of the three men said in Bahasa Indonesia in the video clip.

“We hope our boss, our employer, will help secure our freedom. We ask the Indonesian president to help free us.” 

On Nov 6, Daily Express reported that the fishermen had been transferred from ASG sub-leader Salip Mura to another, Apo Mike @ Majan Sahidjuan, both of whom are on the Eastern Sabah Security Command’s (Esscom) wanted list.

That report said Salip and Apo had held them in Barangay [Kampung or Village] Kabbon Maas, in Indanan municipality, Sulu.

But information Daily Express has just got from a Filipino source indicates that the hostages were handled by more than two Abu Sayyaf sub-leaders, in another Sulu village.

“The three Indonesians were monitored in Barangay Kagay, Indanan, Sulu on Nov 3 under the custody of ASG sub-leader Sibih Pisih,” Prof. Rommel Banlaoi, Chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, told Daily Express.

“This information is from ground sources confirmed by intelligence units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.”

Daily Express cannot immediately establish whether Sibih, who is also wanted by Esscom, handled the hostages before or after Salip and Apo Mike.

A regional Philippine military official could not confirm that the hostages had changed handlers.

“There were reports but subject for validation and same with the identity of the KVs [kidnap victims],” Western Mindanao Command’s spokesperson Major Arvin Encinas said in a text message to Daily Express.

It was further said in the Nov 6 report that the Philippine troops have launched an operation to rescue the three.  

“The Philippine military has also bombed the position of the group holding the hostages and is in hot pursuit,” Indonesia's Consul-General in Sabah Krishna Djaelani told Daily Express in that report. 

Daily Express in an Oct 18 report confirmed suspicions that the hostages were held by the Abu Sayyaf, citing information from an Indonesian terrorism researcher.

The researcher with Jakarta-based think tank Galatea, Ulta Levenia Nababan, said in that report that Salip’s group had 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.

Sibih made it to Esscom’s latest list of 18 wanted Filipino transborder criminals issued in January of this year.

Pro-Islamic State Abu Sayyaf militants have been blamed by the Malaysian and Philippine authorities for previous kidnappings in the region especially in the Sulu Sea, a maritime area shared by both nations.



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