Islamist militants released ten Indonesian hostages in the southern Philippines on Sunday which ended a month-long ordeal wherein a kidnapped Canadian held hostage by the same group was beheaded after ransom was declined.
Jolo Island’s chief of police said that the hostages were the crew of a Taiwanese-owned tugboat that was intercepted by Abu Sayyaf rebels. The hostages were delieverd to the local governor’s home at 1am eastern, then taken to an army base.
Police Superintedent Junpikar Sitin said the hostagess appeared tired, but were in high spirits.
Both police and miliary officials said that was unclear whether a ransom was paid. The Philippines rarely publicise ransom payments, however, it is widely believed no capives were released without it.
Four other Indonesian hostages are being held by different Abu Sayyaf whose fate thus far is unknown. Indonesia’s foreign ministery had no comment on the release of the ten detainees.
Abu Sayyaf is a brutal militia known for accumulating millions of dollars from ransom requests, and is now holding thirteen people including the four Malaysian seamen and Japanese, Netherland, Canadian, Norwegian and Filipino citizens.
On Monday, 68-year-old mining executing John Ridsdel was executed by the Abu Sayyaf who kidnapped him along with three others from a resort last year. Ridsdel’s head was discovered in a bag several hours after the deadline passed, and a torso was discovered two days later.
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau called the act “cold-blooded murder” and is urging other countries to not pay ransom. Trudeau commented that the money only funds terrorism- not ends it.
The price for his life was 300 million pesos ($6.41 million)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it “an act of cold-blooded murder” and has urged countries not to pay ransoms. The price for his life was 300 million pesos ($6.41 million).
Benigno Aquino who is the Philippine President has vowed to devote all of his efforts to eliminating the terrorist group before he steps down in two months.
However, the group has many followers, and efforts to uncover their fighters have been challenging for the 2,500 Philippine troops.
The “business” has apparently been so profitable, that it has permitted Abu Sayyaf to invest in high powered boats, weapons and modern communication equipment.
Foreign ministers of the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia are set to meet in Jakarta this week to discuss methods of working together in securing shipping routes betweeen the countries.