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Amnesty appeals to Filipino captors of 2 sisters

Nadjoua Bansil (left) and sister Linda (right). AP

MANILA, Philippines—Amnesty International and the family of two Filipino-Algerian sisters called for suspected Islamic extremists to release the women immediately, saying Thursday that they are human rights defenders and filmmakers who focused on the plight of impoverished Muslims in Mindanao.

Nadjoua and Linda Bansil were taken by about 10 suspected Abu Sayyaf members Saturday in southern Sulu province’s Patikul town while working on a short film about Muslim coffee farmers. At least three companions of the sisters, who were seized from a van, were left behind by the gunmen, police said.

Their brother, Mohammed Bansil, noted that his sisters were seized while tackling the very issues at the root of the decades-old minority Muslim unrest in the southern Philippines.

“Instead of filming, they now have become the story,” he told The Associated Press.

Ritz Lee Santos, who heads Amnesty International Philippines, said that the sisters have been longtime human rights volunteers.

“It’s sad that they were taken because they went to Sulu to tell the whole country about the struggles of poor Muslims,” he said.

Linda Bansil, 37, wrote for Amnesty International publications in the Philippines and her 39-year-old sister volunteered work on films about the travails and culture of Filipino tribesmen. They also worked together to produce low-budget, independent films showcasing Filipino Muslim life and culture, their family said.

“Even on the streets, they’ll pick up homeless children or intervene when somebody’s being abused,” Mohammed Bansil said.

Marine Colonel Jose Cenabre said that the gunmen belong to the Abu Sayyaf, a group notorious for ransom kidnappings, beheadings and other atrocities. Police said they were still checking if the abductors were from an allied group of young Muslim extremists behind several kidnappings.

The al-Qaida-linked group also is holding a Jordanian journalist and two Europeans.

Officials said that the women, who were guests of a Sulu-based sultan, did not coordinate with police before their trip to the dangerous Patikul hinterlands. They reportedly visited Mount Sinumaan, a rugged mountainous area where the Abu Sayyaf maintains a camp, and were on their way back to the provincial capital of Jolo when they were stopped.

The sisters were born in Algeria to an Algerian mother and a Middle East-educated Filipino Muslim scholar, but grew up in the Philippines.

One of the acclaimed independent short films they had produced is called “Bohe,” about the life of impoverished Filipino sea gypsies.

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Tags: Abu Sayyaf , Acts of Terror , Kidnapping , Linda Bansil , Mindanao , Nadjoua Bansil , Sulu

  • panhase

    Abu Sayyaf are bandits. If they are called Islamic extremists then it seems to imply there could be an underlying just cause, when in reality they are only a bunch of criminals.

  • $2931613

    ayan kasi punta pa kayo ng Mindanao!

    • Jakeson Florido

      grabe naman, hindi naman buong Mindanao ganun. Aral-aral din ng Philippine Geography pag may time.

  • ReneV

    haaay! tigas ng ulo kasi! ngayon problema pa ng gobyerno. why the f_cking hell did they trust that their fellow moslems will take care of them! now the same people from the same religion demand money. these sisters should never have been here in the first place!

  • RiverHorse

    tapos titirahin yung mga pulis at militar ng human rights violations? eh di nakita nung buong mundo kung sino talaga walang galang sa human rights!

  • tweakthor

    What do you expect of ANIMALS who call themselves the Abu Sayaf? These murderers and kidnappers who kill in the name of ALLAH are a shame and burden to those who practice Islam. It is crystal clear that these barbarians have no souls!!!!

  • blue_lights

    ASG… showing the world that they have no respect, all they care about is easy money and violating human rights.

  • wawa2172

    The government seems to have no solution to the problem in Sulo. Napabayaan naman kasi ang lugar for decades so there is no such thing as law and order in almost all of its community. The culture of Kidnap For Ransom (KFR) is always referred to the Abu Sayaff group even if its done by ordinary citizens.Kaya sikat na sikat ang mga Abus dahil halos lahat sa Sulo ay kasapi nito. KFR is a big time backyard industry in Sulo and the two Algerian sister who are muslims are not even spared. The kidnappers smells dollars in this two well meaning ladies whose in the wrong place to help the poor and needy. The criminals does not care if you are a muslim or not, if your look smells money and more so dollars you will be captured and sold like a pig in the market. The kidnappers will have a free advertisement in the media and could even request for media personality to be the bridge in the negotiation for the bid price. Price for the release of victims are negotiable and it could even go down to kidnappers expenses on board and lodging. The government meanwhile is sleeping on its job and for many years stories on kidnapping will get a free headline from the broadsheets at may kasamang free negotiation pa.

  • Alfie Anido

    Nakupo! Dapat talagang i-liquidate na lahat ng miyembro ng ASG at ng kanilang allies. Walang pakundangan ang mga kriminal na ito. Pag nagki-kidnap cla ng mga babae kahit foreigner nire-rape nila. They are not Islamic jihadist, they are just criminals who just happen to be moslems.

  • opinyonlangpo

    This is the stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf Group, even the police and soldiers are not safe in the area. Pathetic.

  • Mamang Pulis

    na! malingkat pa duha! naloko na…aasawahin na yan ng mokloid….

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