Bansil sisters now on 17th day in captivity in Sulu PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 July 2013 11:39

Former Tawi-Tawi Governor Sadikul Sahali yesterday strongly  appealed to the kidnappers of the Bansil sisters Nadjoua and Linda to release them “unconditionally for humanitarian reasons,”  as a  gesture to the month of Ramadan, a 30 day fasting period for the Muslims all over the world.

Sahali said the two sisters Nadjoua, 39, and Linda, 36,  indie filmmakers, have not done anything wrong to them when they visited Patikul, in Sulu.

The Bansil sisters, now on their 17th day in captivity as kidnap victims,  traveled to Sulu on June 19 with the sole purpose of working on a documentary film  on the “life and struggle” of its poor coffee farmers.

They were snatched on June 22  by armed men belonging to the Abu Sayyaf group  in Barangay Liang, Patikul, Sulu while their were on their way back to Jolo, the capital town of Sulu

“I appeal to them for humanitarian sake to release the victims unconditionally since these people have not done anything wrong to them. They should release them. They have their own families and their  loved one are expecting them this Ramadan season to be at home with them,” Sahali said.

“Kindly release them to their families,” the former governor appealed to the captors.

“Today is suppose to start the month of Ramadan. This is the day where all Muslims throughout the world will start to fast for 30 days. This is a blessed month and for the Muslims  this is the month where every believer is performing their duties as  Muslim,” Sahali said.

This is the month that Muslims have to fast during the day, seeing  and doing bad things, these are against  the Muslim faith. In this  time, all Muslims must concentrate  in  their faith. These can be found the Qur’an  and writings of Ulamas. I enjoined everybody, to fast during the month of Ramadan. This is an obligation that every Muslim have to follow. By  observing these, it will become a peaceful month.  Don’t do wrong to others as  ordered by God. As an elder man. I  appeal everybody to observe the month of Ramadan as every Muslim does all over the world,” Sahali said..

Linda’s and Nadjoua’s father, Abdulbasit Bansil, is from  Datu Piang, Maguindanao and studied as scholar at Al-Azhar University. His  contemporaries at Al-Azhar University included Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) founder Dr. Salamat Hashim (of Maguindanao) and Ustadhz Abdulbaqi Abubakar (of Sulu), a highly respected senior leader of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and grand mufti (top Islamic religious leader) of Region 9.

Relatedly, a concept paper written by Nadjoua about their planned documentary titled “Kahawa Armalite” for Tausug coffee farmers showed it is “about a journey of farmers and evolution of coffee in a war-torn Sulu and how coffee farmers manage to adapt and survive up to recent times, left with no choice but to ‘armalite’-pick their coffee beans in order to survive.”

“Kahawa” is an Arabic  word for coffee.

Nadjoua lamented that Sulu’s coffee, though “known to be one of the best in the world,” still has not gained wider popularity and a bigger market.

“There has been an initiative to intensify or improve (coffee) farming in this part of Mindanao, however, sustaining a market is still a struggle due to the emerging and re-emerging conflicts,” said Nadjoua before they were kidnapped in Sulu.

She said the coffee industry in Sulu has two main brands, Royal Sulu Coffee and Cafe de Sug, which is supplied to one of the international coffee shop chains.

She said “Cafe de Sug made an advisory in their website that the coffee delivery was disrupted due to the Sabah standoff.”

“It is evident that when conflicts arise in the area, the coffee delivery is halted, however in this documentary we will not delve in these coffee (shop) chains and products, but (we) will focus more on the ordinary lives of farmers who till the land and make all these possible,” said Nadjoua. — Nonoy E. Lacson