Indonesian kidnap victim killed in Philippine shootout

KOTA KINABALU: An Indonesian kidnap victim taken from Sabah’s Lahad Datu district earlier this year has been killed during a shootout in southern Philippines.

Regional intelligence sources said the victim was in a group with Abu Sayyaf-linked gunmen when the gun battle with security forces occurred on Monday.

He was among five Indonesian fishermen abducted in waters between Tambisan and Kuala Meruap in Lahad Datu, close to the Philippine sea border, on Jan 16.

Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali said the victim has been identified as La Baa, 32.

He said they were still trying to get details about the fate of the other four victims – Arsyad Dahlan, 41, Riswanto Hayano, 27, Edi Lawalopo, 53, and Syarizal Kastamiran, 29.

The five fishermen attached with a Sabah-based trawler were abducted by six gunmen dressed in black overalls.

In April, they were “freed” by their Abu Sayyaf captors to another group which was trying to facilitate their release.

Sources said intermediaries for families of the Indonesian hostages had “settled” the demands of a key Abu Sayyaf kidnap group led by sub-commando Mike Apo, who had released them to Abu Sayyaf-linked middlemen.

However, these “middlemen” are now holding the hostages while demanding extra payment, the sources added.

“Negotiations are being carried out with a Jolo-based group of middlemen led by a woman, once closely associated with a powerful Moro leader, ” they said.

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