PETALING JAYA: Abu Sayyaf has released video footage showing piles of cash reportedly worth 250mil pesos (RM18.5mill) that was paid as ransom for the release of two German captives.
A spokesperson for the terror group, Muamar Askali also known as Abu Rami, posted the video clip to Facebook last week as a means to quell reports that no ransom was paid to free German couple Stefan Viktor Okonek and Henrike Dielen, who were abducted in April.
However, the video was said to have been taken down on Saturday.
The Philippine Star reported that the militants were seen piling bundles of 1,000 pesos (RM74) bills into five stacks and placing it on top of a large black plastic bag.
The three-minute video clip also showed militants standing around the bundle of cash, with a black flag of the Islamic State visible in the background.
“Al-hamdu-lillah (praise be to God), we counter the Philippine government that they said that no ransom policy. And now for the sake of the Shariyah Islamiyah, the no ransom policy will be lost at this moment,” Askali said in the video clip.
The commander of the Joint Task Group Basulta, Rear Admiral Reynaldo Yoma, who is in charge of the offensive against Abu Sayyaf, refused to comment on the ransom money reportedly paid, the daily reported.
It quoted Yoma as saying that the task group would pursue relentless operations to catch up with the Abu Sayyaf terror group, but not necessarily at the cost of collateral damage.
Two Malaysian hostages are currently among those being held by the group, which is active in the southern Philippines.
Fish farm breeder Chan Sai Chuin was kidnapped from a village in Kunak on June 14, while Marine police officer Kons Zakiah Aleip was abducted on July 12, following an attack on a marine unit on Pulau Mabul, Semporna.
Both have yet to be released, with the kidnappers demanding a ransom of RM3mill for each of them.
Chan’s wife, Chin Pek Nyuen, met with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim in parliament on Tuesday, appealing to the government to secure her husband’s release as the Nov 30 deadline to pay the ransom was fast approaching.
Shahidan told reporters that Malaysian security forces were working hard to secure Chan and Zakiah’s release.