Abu in Sipadan kidnapping falls PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 27 August 2015 13:33

A deputy leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group, tagged as one of those who participated in the 2000 Sipadan kidnapping in Sabah, Malaysia, was arrested in a joint police and military operation Tuesday night in Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Police Regional Director Chief Supt. Miguel Antonio told reporters that Ibni Acosta of the Abu Sayyaf’s Urban Terror Group was arrested on the strength of a warrant for 21 counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention in connection with the kidnapping of 21 people, including 10 tourists from Europe and Middle East at a dive resport in Sipadan Island in Sabah in 2000.

Acosta has a P4.3 million reward on his head put up  under DND-DILG joint order No. 15-2012 dated November 8, 2012.

Acosta was nabbed by men of the Zamboanga SibugayProvincial  Police Office,  soldiers of the Army’s 6th Special Forces Battalion and 304th AISG PAF. He was taken to the 6th Special Forces headquarters  at Sitio DK, Barangay Libertad also in Tungawan Municipal Police Station for booking procedure and before taking him to Zamboanga City.

Taken hostage in the Sipadan cross border kidnapping were 10 tourists from Europe and the Middle East and 11 Malaysian resort workers.

On April 23, 2000, six men armed with assault rifles and several rocket-propelled grenades arrived by a speedboat on the Sipadan resort island off the eastern coast of Borneo. They proceeded to abduct 21 individuals from the dining hall where dinner was being served.The hostages include a Malaysian police officer, three Germans, two French, two South Africans, two Finns and a Lebanese citizen were herded onto the boats with nine Malaysian and two Filipino resort workers.[4] An American couple and a local marine photographer managed to evade capture unharmed.

During the abduction the hostages were allegedly robbed of their money and jewelry before being forced at gunpoint to swim to the boat waiting offshore. The hostages were then allegedly transported about an hour away to Jolo island, in Sulu Archipelago in southern Philippines.Once on Jolo, the captives were allegedly held captive by up to 200 Abu Sayyaf militants under the command of Galib Andang alias .Commander ‘Robot’.

On May 6, 2000, a video was released by the captors depicting the hostages held in a jungle area with gunfire and mortar rounds audible in the background. The video footage also showed a female German captive lying on a makeshift stretcher, apparently overcome by illness. A Philippine government doctor who reached and treated the captives in Jolo was reported as saying the German woman required immediate hospital treatment for hypertension. The militants were reported to have demanded a ransom of $2 million for the release of the ailing German tourist among their captives.

On May 8, 2000, the militants holding the foreign hostages fired at government troops who the militants claimed were approaching too close to their position. One Philippines soldier was killed, and the militants claimed two of the hostages also died during the fighting, although the government denied any foreigners had been killed. The government denial of any casualties among the foreign hostages would later be proven true, however all efforts to open negotiations with the hostage takers were then suspended.

In June, a Filipino evangelist and 12 of his prayer warriors offered their help and went as mediators for the release of other hostages. However the 13 were later taken hostage on July 1, 2000, when they tried to deliver 70 bags of rice and up to US$ 3,000 worth of cash to the militants.

On 2 July 2000, a German journalist Andreas Lorenz, who was visiting Jolo to cover the hostage story, was also seized.The correspondent for the weekly magazine Der Spiegel was abducted from a jeep during an ambush by a group of armed militants who dragged her to their vehicle. The driver of the jeep was able to escape.

Three French television crew members were also captured by militants on July 9, 2000.

On August 20,2000, the final three of nine Malaysians taken from Sipadan arrived in Malaysia after the guerrillas received US$ 3 million from the Malaysian government and freed the trio from captivity, along with one Filipino.The Malaysian hostages reported living mostly on boiled rice and a scrap or two of fish each day, and having had only rain water to drink. Several had been bitten by scorpions during their captivity.

On August 28, 2000, mediation by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi saw the guerrillas release six Western captives who were taken via a Libyan plane first to the United Arab Emirates and then to Tripoli, the capital of Libya. The four Westerners were allegedly set free after a ransom, reportedly of US$ 1 million per  head, was paid by the state of Libya. Prior to these releases the Libyan state allegedly pledged US$ 25 million in “development aid. “However the former Libyan ambassador to the Philippines, Rajab Azzarouq, denied media reports that Libya paid a US$ 25 million ransom to the militants.

Of the original hostages taken, German Marc Wallert, Frenchman Stephane Loisy and Finns Seppo Fränti and Risto Vahanen and a Filipino resort worker were still being held by the Abu Sayyaf militants as of September 7, 2000. The final four European captives taken from Sipadan were released on September 10, 2000, and transported to Tripoli, Libya, by private jet. Following his release, Vahanen confirmed that a number of female captives had been sexually assaulted by militant Commander ‘Robot’,

On September 16, 2000, following an offensive by the Philippine military on Jolo Island, the Filipino evangelist and his crew of eleven were released by the militants. Three days later, the two final European hostages, a pair of French reporters, were also freed. — Dan Toribio Jr. with Wikipedia data