Noy orders no let-up in hunt for Abu Sayyaf
Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - January 15, 2016 - 9:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines  – President Aquino ordered troops to hunt down the Abu Sayyaf without let-up and secure all remaining hostages, a ranking military official said here yesterday.

Lt. Gen. Mayoralgo de la Cruz, commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said the President issued the marching orders to the troops in Basilan and Sulu.

“The order of the President, our commander-in-chief, we will pursue the operations here without let-up,” De la Cruz said.

“It is important that once and for all we complete this (operation) so that our fellowmen will feel that they are safe and secured here,” De la Cruz added.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Hernando Irriberi flew to Mindanao yesterday to oversee the presidential order against the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan and Sulu.

“He went there to reiterate the message of the President against the Abu Sayyaf and all lawless groups,” AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said.

The presidential order came amid reports that one of two captive Canadians taken hostage by the Abu Sayyaf had fallen ill.

The military said it was verifying reports that John Ridsdel got sick and was seen being dragged by Abu Sayyaf bandits while evading pursuing government troops.

Ridsdel, 68, and fellow Canadian Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipina Marites Flor were abducted last Sept. 21 in Samal Island off Davao province and are believed to be held captive in Sulu.

However, De la Cruz said they have no report to confirm the condition of the hostages.

He said they have no concrete evidence on whether the victims were indeed brought in their area of operation.

Westmincom covers Central and Western Mindanao, including Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

“If they are here we have been operating and our soldiers are not taking breaks. And they would rather conduct the operation just in case we can rescue not just the Canadians but all the victims still held by the Abu Sayyaf,” De la Cruz added. – With Jaime Laude

                    

 

ABU SAYYAF ACIRC ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES BASILAN AND SULU CANADIAN ROBERT HALL CENTRAL AND WESTERN MINDANAO CRUZ HERNANDO IRRIBERI JOHN RIDSDEL NBSP NORWEGIAN KJARTAN SEKKINGSTAD AND FILIPINA MARITES FLOR
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