5 captive Indonesians still alive
Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - September 22, 2020 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — The five Indonesian fishermen seized by suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits nine months ago are still alive and being held captive in Sulu, a military official said yesterday.

The safe recovery of the victims remains a priority of the Joint Task Force Sulu (JTFS), according to Lt. Col. Alaric delos Santos, spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom).

There were no sightings, however of the captives during an encounter that occurred on Sunday in Patikul town.

“Based on reports gathered by the ground forces, the Indonesian fishermen are still in Sulu,” Delos Santos said.

The fishermen – identified as Arsyad Dahlan, La Baa, Riswanto Hayono, Khairul and Syarizal Kastamiran – were seized by unidentified armed men from a Malaysian-operated fishingboat in the waters off Lahad Datu, Sabah on Jan. 17.

Reports said the Abu Sayyaf bandits were demanding P30 million in exchange for the release of the victims.

The kidnappers have reportedly contacted the families of the captives and the owner of the fishing boat.s2

Delos Santos cited reports that the bandits tagged the victims along with them everytime they change location to evade pursuing troopers.

“They are always moving from one place to another. They are highsly mobile,” Delos Santos said.

The Indonesians have been the last captives of the Abu Sayyaf since the bandit group embarked on cross-border kidnapping activities in the waters surrounding Sabah.

Malaysian and Philippine Navy forces have intensified the border security along with their Indonesian counterpart to prevent a repeat of the incident.

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