Silence from Philippine govt drives price for hostages snatched from Sabah down

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 30 Nov 2019

KOTA KINABALU: Abu Sayyaf gunmen, who are holding three Indonesians snatched from Sabah’s east coast waters two months ago, are getting desperate with no response from Filipino authorities to their ransom demand, say intelligence sources.

The Philippine sources said the gunmen were threatening to harm the hostages.

This came about after a video surfaced on Facebook on Nov 16 showing the captives pleading to their employers to pay the ransom.

In the 43-second video, Samiun Maneu is seen begging their Sabah-based employers to pay the 30-million-peso (RM2.45mil) ransom.

Intelligence sources said the gunmen were now ready to release the three Indonesians for 10 million pesos (RM816,000).

The sources said yesterday that the gunmen wanted to cash in on the situation fast as they were being hunted by security forces in the Abu Sayyaf stronghold of Idanan on Jolo island in southern Philippines.

“They seem ready to drop their ransom demand. We believe they are getting nervous as nobody is talking to them.

“They are apparently making threats of beheading the hostages.

“They seem to be trying to contact known negotiators offering to lower their ransom demand, ” an intelligence source said.

The three hostages – Maharudin Lunani, 48, and his son Muhammad Farhan, 27, plus 27-year-old crew member Samiun – were abducted by armed men from a Sandakan-registered fishing trawler off Tambisan waters in Lahad Datu on Sept 24.

Sources said the trio were under the control of Abu Sayyaf gunmen Mike Apo and Salip Anwar who had, on a few occasions, made similar demands to family members.

Both Malaysia and the Philippines have a “pay no ransom”policy.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah had recently reiterated that they were working with their counterparts in the Philippines to seek the release of the men and that they would not entertain any ransom demand.

Last week, Philippine security forces rescued British national Allan Hyrons and his Filipino wife from Abu Sayyaf gunmen after more than a month in captivity.

The couple were abducted from their resort in Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur, on Oct 4.

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