KOTA KINABALU: Ongoing military operations in Jolo are making life tough for the remaining Malaysian hostage, Bernard Then Ted Fen.
Jolo-based anti kidnapping activist Prof Octavio Dinampo said Abu Sayyaf gunmen guarding the 39-year-old Bernard were moving him around constantly through their jungle hideouts in the southern Philippines island
"They are trying to avoid the military and the order to the gunmen from their leaders is to avoid any engagement with the soldiers. However the worry is that accidents may happen,” said Octavio.
He said that from what he had heard, Then was safe.
“He is tired and weak from the constant moving around in the mountains,” Octavio added.
He said Bernard was supposed to have been released together with restaurant manager Thien Nyuk Fun, 50 on Sunday.
However talks for their release hit a snag when Abu Sayyaf commander Abu Hambri suddenly insisted on “additional conditions” for their freedom.
Abu Hambri was said to be an uncle of Abu Sayyaf sub commander Idang Susukan who had been holding Thien and Bernard captive since their abduction from the Ocean King seafood restaurant in Sandakan on May 14.
He said negotiators were still trying to work out for Bernard’s release based on the “original conditions” for their freedom.
Thien returned home to Sandakan on Monday following a six-hour boat ride from Jolo.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said they were now focusing their efforts towards securing Bernard’s freedom.
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