KOTA KINABALU: The families of five Malaysian sailors being held hostage by Abu Sayyaf gunmen since July are losing hope of seeing their loved ones again.
Hariyanti Hamsih, 31, whose husband Mohd Ridzuan Ismail is among those held in the southern Philippine island of Jolo, said the families were in no position to meet the ransom demands.
“We are at a loss,” she said when contacted yesterday.
Hariyanti said the families have been kept in the dark over efforts to seek the release of the five hostages from Tawau who are related to each other.
“We seldom get any update from the authorities and the kidnappers keep calling, asking us to pay up.
“Sometimes when the kidnappers call, I get to speak with my husband.
“He will ask about our three children and tells me to look after them well.
“He also pleads with me to help raise the ransom, saying all of them are suffering,” she added.
The kidnappers are said to have demanded about 100mil pesos (RM8.8mil) for the release of the hostages.
Hariyanti said the families have managed to raise some RM30,000 from public donations and relatives were trying hard to find ways to get more money.
“I sometimes feel so desperate as there is nothing I can do to bring my husband and the others home. It also seems like no one is trying to fight for their return,” she said.
She said like her, the other family members were still hoping for the best.
Hariyanti hoped that the ongoing military operations in the Philippines would help secure the release of the hostages.
Besides Ridzuan, the others held captive are Abd Rahim Summas, 62, Tayudin Anjut, 45, Mohd Zumadil Rahim, 23, and Fandy Bakran, 26.
The five were snatched from their tugboat in waters off Lahad Datu by Filipino cross-border gunmen on July 18.
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