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Paid ransom emboldens kidnappers in latest case, says source
Published on: Sunday, January 19, 2020
By: Zam Yusa, Stefyanie Myla Micheal
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These three Indonesian fishermen kidnapped from waters off Tambisan Island, Lahad Datu in September 2019 are pictured here held by the Abu Sayyaf Group in Sulu before their rescue by the Philippine military in December and January this year (Photo: Screengrab from supplied Facebook video).
Kota Kinabalu: Ransom paid by Indonesian authorities in a previous kidnapping case may have emboldened a suspected Filipino kidnap-for-ransom group to grab five Indonesian fishermen from a Sandakan-registered trawler in the latest case that occurred in Tambisan Island waters off Lahad Datu on Thursday, sources told Daily Express.

The kidnappers also released three other fishermen and let them find their way back to Sabah waters from Philippine territory for unexplained reason.

The eight including their skipper were fishing at 8pm when their trawler was approached by a boat with six masked men who boarded their trawler and took the fishermen and their vessel to southern Philippine waters, said a government source.

At about 9.10pm on Friday, the trawler was traced going back to Tambisan waters from the southern Philippine side before it was intercepted by a Malaysian Marine Police boat.

Inspection of their boat and initial investigation confirmed only five fishermen had been kidnapped, said the government source who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

The five have been identified as boat skipper Arsyad Dahlan, 42, Arizal Kastamiran, 29, La Baa, 32, Riswanto Hayono, 27, and Edi Lawalopo, 53.

The three fishermen who were released have been identified as Abdul Latif, 37, Daeng Akbal, 20, and Pian Janiru, 36.

Eastern Sabah Security Command chief Datuk Hazani Ghazali confirmed to Daily Express as to the fishermen’s identities.

The unnamed government source said kidnapping continued because the southern Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf terror and kidnap group had been receiving the ransom they had been demanding.

A second source, who is close to the issue and declined to be named, confirmed to Daily Express on Sunday that ransom had been paid in the previous case.

In that case, the last of the three Indonesian fishermen kidnapped also in Tambisan Island waters last September was rescued by the Philippine military in Sulu on Wednesday.

Muhammad Farhan, 27, was rescued at Barangay (Village) Bato-Bato, Indanan district, the Philippine military’s Western Mindanao Command spokesman, Major Arvin Encinas, told Daily Express.

The other two hostages, Maharudin Lunani, 48 and Samiun Manieu, 26 were rescued in Old Panamao district, Sulu, on Dec 22 last year.

The Abu Sayyaf and other kidnap-for ransom groups have been blamed by Malaysian and Philippine authorities for kidnappings in the Sulu Sea, an area shared by both nations.



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