Officials check reported kidnapping of 4 Malaysians PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 17 June 2016 14:08

Philippine authorities are checking a report on the kidnapping of four Malaysians in a latest strike Thursday morning by suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen off the coast of Sabah, Malaysia,

Sr. Supt. Joselito Salido, police director of Tawi-Tawi, the country’s southernmost province bordering Sabah, was quoted by ABS CBN News as saying unidentified armed men brought the four Malaysians to the shores of Sitankai island, Tawi-Tawi before transferring them to nearby Jolo island, Sulu province.

Maj. Filemon Tan told local reporters they are still gathering information to confirm the abduction which comes a day after outgoing President Benigno III flew to Jolo  where he met military and police commanders to check on the status of the remaining hostages in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf and to get first hand information on the progress of combat and rescue operations by government forces.

The president’s trip to Jolo comes after a second Canadian hostage was executed by the Abu Sayyaf on Monday.

From Jolo, Aquino proceeded to Zamboanga City for another conference with top level military officials at the Western Mindanao Command Headquarters in Camp Navarro,

A military source from the camp  who talked on condition of anonymity as he is not authorized to talk to media said the president and the military officers “lengthily discussed prospective solutions to eliminate the risk factors affecting the conduct of operations in Sulu.”

The source said high-ranking military and police officers recommended to Aquino steps to be taken by the security forces to fight the Abu Sayyaf including factors like the support the militant group received from villagers which make ground troops difficult to combat the Abu Sayyaf.

In past kidnappings, several talks circulated in Zamboanga City involving residents of Sulu coming to the city for shopping spree with money shared by the Abu Sayyaf.

Aquino said after his conversation with the Canadian and the Norwegian prime ministers, he flew to Jolo to see what is happening in the province. He wanted to see the steps taken by the military and the police in tracking down the Abu Sayyaf gunmen and to rescue the remaining captives.

The president called on the civilian populace and the local government units to continue to work hand-in-hand with the military and the police in the steps that they take to resolve terrorism in the province.