Samal hostages under 'tight' security
Roel Pareño (Philstar.com) - December 1, 2015 - 1:46am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Three foreigners and a Filipina taken from Samal island resort, dubbed as “prize catch” are heavily guarded by five Abu Sayyaf groups in the jungle of Sulu, according to an independent source.

“In other words, the security (of the victims) is quite tight because this a prize catch according to them (Abu Sayyaf group),” said Octavio Dinampo, a state-run college professor and a peace advocate leader in Sulu.

Based on the ground information obtained by Dinampo’s people, the four captives are guarded by men of Abu Sayyaf leaders Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, Yasser Igasan, Amamas, Idang Susukan, and Radullan Sahiron.

The gunmen seized Canadian tourists John Ridsdel, 68, and Robert Hall, 50, as well as Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad and Hall’s Filipina girlfriend, Maritess Flor last September 21 from Samal Island off Davao del Norte and taken as hostages in Sulu.

Dinampo said negotiation is ongoing for the release of the four kidnap victims.

He refused to identify the Abu Sayyaf leader to whom his people are negotiating with.

Dinampo, a former kidnap victim, warned that the present negotiation might endanger the safety of the hostages.

“This is very fatal because, remember the last time about the two Malaysian victims when they negotiated for the release of the lady, it already killed the bargaining power and subsequently resulted to the death of Bernard (Then Ted Fen),” Dinampo said.

Dinampo was referring to female Malaysian restaurant manager Thien Nyuk Fun who was released following payment of ransom while Fen was beheaded after negotiations reportedly failed.

Dinampo said negotiation must include all concerned groups.

He said that while the current 4-billion ransom is “so high and impossible to comply,” this can be trimmed down to a most reasonable demand in exchange for the release of all victims.

Dinampo said other groups could also intervene and “finish down the demand to the nearest minimum.”

“We know they need money and that money should be fast,” Dinampo added.

Dinampo said it is possible for the kidnap victims to be released soon. However, he said that no kidnap victim in Sulu had been released without ransom.

“I do not agree with somebody who said the victim walkout, run, or escape. This proved on the ground that it did not happen,” Dinampo said.

He also said they can negotiate for a lower ransom provided that the demand must be met shortly.

Dinampo added that Abu Sayyaf leader Yasser Igasan and his men benefited the most from the release of German couple Dr. Stefan Victor Okonek and Henrike Dielen following payment of ransom last year. 

ABU SAYYAF ACIRC DINAMPO DR. STEFAN VICTOR OKONEK AND HENRIKE DIELEN FILIPINA HATIB HAJAN SAWADJAAN IDANG SUSUKAN JOHN RIDSDEL KJARTAN SEKKINGSTAD AND HALL MARITESS FLOR YASSER IGASAN
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