KOTA KINABALU: Five Sandakan-based Indonesian fishermen are back in the hands of their Abu Sayyaf captors following a gunbattle on Jolo island.
Regional intelligence sources said the five hostages were “returned” to sub commander Madjan Sahijuan @ Apo Mike by another group led by a woman who had earlier secured their “release’ on behalf of negotiators of the families of the Indonesian hostages.
It was reported that the woman, who was once closely linked to a powerful Moro leader, had been demanding more money from the Indonesians for their release.
Sources explained that senior members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) led by Nur Misuari were unhappy with the woman’s actions, and forced her to not implicate the MNLF in kidnap activities.
The woman leader then facilitated the return of the hostages to their original captors, who first grabbed the Indonesians in waters off Lahad Datu on Jan 17.
According to the sources, some 40 new members of the MNLF police battalion led by MNLF commander Stalon raided the group led by Apo Mike and Anwal Jainal @ Annu, who were resting in a village within Idanan in Jolo island late last week.
The source said the notorious Abu Sayyaf cross border kidnapping leader, Idang Susukan, who surrendered to Misuari two months ago, was now with the MNLF police force, and was in the thick of a firefight against his former ally Apo Mike and other Abu Sayyaf gunmen.The Abu Sayyaf gunmen fled into the hills with their hostages to neighbouring Patikul, their home base.Ground reports claimed that five MNLF policemen were injured and two Abu Sayyaf gunmen were killed in the two-hour gunbattle.
Two factions of the MNLF leadership, led by by Misuari and Yusof Jikiri, are working “separately” with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to bring peace in southern Philippines under the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
Did you find this article insightful?
100% readers found this article insightful