Four Malaysians held hostage in the Philippines freed, army says

admin   •   June 9, 2016   •   2611

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)

4 suspected Abu Sayyaf members arrested in Zamboanga City

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 26, 2019

Four suspected members of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were arrested during the joint operation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Zamboanga City on Thursday (September 26).

The arrested individuals were identified as Aljiver Habibula, Omar Julaspih, Rody Marail, and Nash Amik who are all from Sulu province and are currently residing at Barangay Baliwasan, Zamboanga City.

Recovered from the operation are ingredients for Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

According to the PNP, they have been monitoring the suspects for several days. They also clarified they have not received any threats of bombing in Zamboanga City.

“Batay sa briefing ng ating intelligence division ay wala naman talaga tayong threat tungkol diyan. Hindi rin natin masasabi kung ito ba ay may plano (attack) para sa ating fiesta pilar (Based on the briefing of our intelligence division, there are no threats. We also cannot say if they have a planned attack for our festival),” Police Regional Office 9 Spokesperson PMaj. Helen Galvez said.

However, according to AFP Western Mindanao Command Spokesperson Maj. Arvin John Encinas, they received a report last month about the ASG’s plan to bomb various areas in the country.

Encinas said this is a part of ASG’s retaliatory attack because their number continues to decrease.

“Maliit na lang iyan pero mayroon silang kakayahan to conduct IED attacks (They may be small but they still have the capacity to conduct IED attacks),” he warned.

Due to this, he reminded the public to immediately report to the authorities any suspicious individuals in their area.

They can contact the PRO-9 office at 0917 506 2000.—AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

AFP: Kin of Abu Sayyaf leader killed in Sulu

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 12, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Members of the Abu Sayyaf Group

The brother of an Abu Sayyaf leader was killed during an encounter with the military forces in Sulu on Tuesday (September 10).

The soldiers identified the neutralized terrorist as Nanz Sawadjaan, the younger brother of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) sub-leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan.

The 41st Infantry Battalion conducted a focused military operation in Sitio Tubig Pansol, Barangay Langhub, Patikul, Sulu.

They encountered 40 ASG members under Almujer Yadah, Ben Tattoh, and Apo Mike. The heavy firefight lasted for 20 minutes until the military was able to overrun the enemy encampment.

Two soldiers were injured during the encounter.

According to Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, the troops are still conducting pursuit operations.

“Our troops remain persistent in tracking down and neutralizing the remaining terrorists in Sulu,” he said.

“The successful operations of our troops are also attributed to the local community who feeds information, directing our troops to the terrorists’ location,” he added.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

NBI nabs 2 suspected Abu Sayyaf members tagged in Basilan kidnap case

Robie de Guzman   •   July 2, 2019

Courtesy : NBI-Counter Terrorism Division

MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday said two suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf group (ASG) were arrested in separate operations in Manila and Taguig City.

The suspects, identified as Ibno Ismael alias “Abu Kodano” and Totoni Hairon, were tagged in the Golden Harvest kidnapping case in Basilan in 2011.

The NBI said the two are facing kidnapping and serious illegal detention cases. The suspects’ apprehension last June 26 was based on arrest warrants issued by Basilan Regional Trial Court.

According to the NBI, Ismael, who was using another name, was working as a construction worker in Taguig while Hairon was working as a security guard in Port Area in Manila.

The suspected ASG members are currently detained at the NBI Detention facility and are set to be transferred to Zamboanga City. (with details from April Cenedoza)

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