Gazmin on Sayyaf threat to behead German: We don’t negotiate with terrorists
MANILA, Philippines—Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Thursday said they will not bow to the demands of the Abu Sayyaf group, which has threatened to behead a German hostage.
“What the Abu Sayyaf are doing are like a propaganda of theirs so that the government would give in to their demands of a ransom,” Gazmin said in a radio interview. “We will not be intimidated by these gestures and actions.”
In a report from SITE monitoring that Arab News wrote, the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic rebels threatened to behead one of two German hostages they have been holding captive since August.
The Abu Sayyaf group also demanded a P250-million ransom for the release of the captive.
Gazmin, however, would not budge and said that the Philippine government “does not negotiate with terrorists.”
“We will continue to contain them,” Gazmin said.
He added that President Benigno Aquino III has ordered to “once and for all stop the Abu Sayyaf.”
Troops in Patikul, Sulu, where the small terror group is said to be concentrated, would be reshuffled, Gazmin said. Members from Philippine Marines and Philippine Army would comprise the government force.
“We are changing our action plan, and we do hope to effectively contain the movement of Abu Sayyaf,” Gazmin said.
In recent months the Abu Sayyaf has uploaded videos on the Internet proclaiming its allegiance to the Islamic State group, which has taken control of large parts of Iraq and Syria.
“They are taking advantage of the international attention the ISIS is getting so that the ransom would increase,” said Lieutenant General Rustico Guerrero, Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command Chief. “All their activities are criminal in nature.”
He added that there are continuous operations that the AFP and the Philippine National Police jointly conduct.
Gazmin said that even with their small number, the Abu Sayyaf continues to operate as they get support from the civilians in the area.
The Abu Sayyaf, considered a “foreign terrorist organization” by the United States, is a loose band of several hundred Islamic militants originally organized with Al-Qaeda funding in the 1990s.
The Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for the Philippines’ worst terrorist attacks, including kidnappings, abductions and beheadings of foreign and local hostages.
It was also blamed for the bombing of a ferry on Manila Bay that killed more than 100 people in 2004.
The group is believed to be currently holding several other foreign and Filipino hostages, including two European birdwatchers abducted in February 2012. With a report from Agence France Presse
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