Four Malaysians held hostage in the Philippines freed, army says

admin   •   June 9, 2016   •   2759

The four Malaysian sailors kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf is seen in a photo. (Photo Courtesy: The Star Online)

The four Malaysian sailors kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf is seen in a photo.
(Photo Courtesy: The Star Online)

Four Malaysian sailors kidnapped by Filipino gunmen in April were freed on the southern Philippine island of Jolo on Wednesday, a Philippine army spokesman said.

The sailors, part of the crew of a tugboat travelling between Malaysia and the Philippines, were abducted by members of the Abu Sayyaf militant group off the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah on April 1.

It was not immediately clear if a ransom had been paid. The Philippines rarely publicises such payments, but it is widely believed no captives are released without them.

Canadian John Ridsdel, 68, a former mining executive, was executed in April by Abu Sayyaf who captured him and three others in 2015 while they were on vacation on a Philippine island.

Philippine Major Filemon Tan told reporters the Malaysians were released on Jolo, Abu Sayyaf’s stronghold in the southern Philippines.

The sailors were then sent by speedboat to Sabah.

“We have yet to confirm whether ransom money was paid in exchange for the safe release of the victims,” Tan said, adding that the kidnapping was led by Abu Sayyaf leader Madjan Sahidjuan, also known as Apuh Mike.

Malaysian authorities have yet to confirm the sailors’ release.

Abu Sayyaf, a group linked to the Islamic State, have become notorious for kidnapping, earning millions of dollars in ransom.

Last month, 14 Indonesians kidnapped by the group were released but several people, including Norwegian, Canadian and Japanese citizens are still being held.

Security is precarious in the southern Philippines, despite a 2014 peace pact between the government and the largest Muslim rebel group that ended 45 years of conflict.

(Reporting by Manuel Mogato and Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Nick Macfie)

11 fallen heroes in Sulu encounter return home ⁠—AFP

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 20, 2020

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has brought the remains of 11 soldiers who were killed in the recent Sulu encounter to their respective hometowns.

In a statement, the AFP said eight of the soldiers are from Luzon, one from Visayas, and two from Mindanao.

The fallen soldiers were given honors by Philippine defense leaders at Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base, Pasay, City on Saturday (April 18).

“In honor of their sacrifice for the nation, we assure the bereaved families that we will take care of them and extend to them the necessary assistance that their families will need.” according to AFP Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Gilbert I. Gapay.

READ: 11 soldiers killed, 14 wounded in Sulu encounter

Eleven soldiers of the AFP were killed while 14 others were wounded during an encounter with suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members in Sulu on Friday (April 17).

11 soldiers killed, 14 wounded in Sulu encounter

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 18, 2020

Eleven soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were killed while 14 others were wounded during an encounter with suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members in Sulu on Friday (April 17).

The AFP reported that the military encountered around 40 ASG terrorists believed to be led by ASG leaders Radullan Sahiron and Hatib Hadjan Sawadjaan.

The number of ASG casualties is yet to determined but bloodstains were seen on their side of the battle after they scampered towards the northeast direction.

The said encounter lasted for an hour in Brgy. Danag, Patikul, Sulu.

The AFP said they lost six R4 rifles, a K3 SAW machine gun, an R4 rifle with a grenade launcher, and a hand-held radio in the encounter.

The military said flags in all military camps around the country will be flown at half-mast for the 11 Army heroes who died during the encounter.

AFP Chief General Felimon Santos, Jr. expressed his condolences to the family of the fallen heroes. He also ensured that all necessary assistance will be extended to their loved ones.

Meanwhile, Commander of the Army 11th Infantry Division based in Sulu MGEN Corleto Vinluan said pursuit operations in the area are ongoing. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

PNP-AKG rescues 3 Chinese nationals from kidnap-for- ransom group

Maris Federez   •   December 14, 2019

The Philippine National Police-Anti Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) has confirmed the rescue of three Chinese nationals from a kidnap for ransom group in Bacoor, Cavite on Friday (December 13).

The victims, namely, Pham ThiTu, Zhang Juanzi, Shen Wenhui were allegedly raped by the suspects who are also Chinese nationals.

The rescue led to the arrest of the six suspects.

A statement sent to the media on Saturday said PNP-AKG teams led by PMaj. Cesar Nuñez Jr and PMaj. Edgar Pablico, together with the PNP Bacoor under PLtCol. Villaflor Bannawagan conducted the rescue after receiving reports from the partners of the victims.

The first complaint came from Huafeng Du on Dec. 12 regarding the abduction of his girlfriend, Pham.

He said the kidnappers demanded 200,000 RMB in exchange for the release of his girlfriend.

The second complaint was filed by Chang Hsiang Hao on December 11, reporting that his girlfriend Zhang Juanzi left on December 10 at around 11:00 PM but has not returned home since.

He said he received a WeChat message from the victim’s account on December 11 asking for Php 700,000 which he sent through an online payment app. However, the kidnapper did not release the victim but demanded instead for another Php 700,000 on December 12.

The third victim named Shen Wenhui was abducted inside Okada Hotel at around 10:00 in the evening on December 12 and was brought to the said place in Bacoor, Cavite. /mbmf

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