Iriberri: No ransom for Samal kidnap victims
Roel Pareño (Philstar.com) - November 4, 2015 - 12:23am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Hernando Iriberri reminded ground military forces in Sulu to strictly adhere to no-ransom policy and to keep the Abu Sayyaf group on the run.

This is after the gunmen believed to Abu Sayyaf militants released Tuesday its second video of three foreigners and a Filipina taken from Samal Island, demanding P1 billion ransom for each of them.

Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado, commander of the Joint Task Group Sulu (JTGS), reported to Iriberri the second video footage posted on social media.

“His guidance to me is to abide or to strictly adhere to the no-ransom policy of the government,” Arrojado said.

Iriberri also ordered JTGS forces to always consider the safety of the kidnap victims in every rescue and focused military operation.

Arrojado said Iriberri directed to rotate units in combat operations “to keep the Abu Sayyaf group on the run and without rest periods.”

In the 87-second video, Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Filipino Marites Flor and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad were shown, together with armed men in black garb.

The gunmen ordered their captive foreigners to make the appeal and issue the P1 billion ransom for each of them.

One of the gunmen even held a machete above Ridsdel, threatening that hostages would be killed if their demand was not met.

Ground military officials maintained that they cannot confirm yet on the possible sighting of the victims in Sulu.

Capt. Antonio Bulao, spokesman of JTGS, said their latest information on the ground revealed sighting of the kidnap victims in the island province.

Navy Capt. Roy Vincent Trinidad, deputy commander of the Task Force Zambasulta, said they are still conducting an assessment of the video to determine the place and period it was taken and the group behind the kidnapping.

Trinidad said the footage could be part of the propaganda of the gunmen.

“We are not pressured, the operation will continue,” Trinidad said. 

ABU SAYYAF ALAN ARROJADO ANTONIO BULAO ARMED FORCES CHIEF OF STAFF GENERAL HERNANDO IRIBERRI ARROJADO CANADIANS JOHN RIDSDEL AND ROBERT HALL FILIPINO MARITES FLOR AND NORWEGIAN KJARTAN SEKKINGSTAD IRIBERRI JOINT TASK GROUP SULU NAVY CAPT ROY VINCENT TRINIDAD
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