The Philippine military vowed Thursday to rescue all hostages in Abu Sayyaf militant custody, while Indonesian and Malaysian officials said they were working with Filipino counterparts to free sailors from their countries who were abducted at sea in December near the southern Philippines.
Col. Gerry Besana, spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command in southern Zamboanga city, dismissed as propaganda a claim by the Abu Sayyaf Group that the three hostages seized two months ago had been taken to Jolo Island, which is part of a Philippine chain that lies off eastern Malaysia’s Sabah state.
“On our side, we will not negotiate with the terrorists. We strictly follow the government’s no ransom policy,” Besana said, vowing that a “relentless” pursuit operations would continue. “We are doing our best for the possible rescue of the hostages.”
A video released on social media last week by Abu Sayyaf showed two Indonesian hostages kneeling before their captors. The bandits were seen threatening to behead the hostages.
Philippine military intelligence officials told BenarNews they believed the three hostages were taken to a location somewhere in the south, but they declined to be more specific.
Those shown in the footage were identified as Indonesians Heri Ardiansyah, 19, and Hariadin, 45, while a third, identified as Malaysian Jari Abdulla, 24, was not shown on video, according to sources in Philippine military intelligence.
Full story: BenarNews
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