AFP intensifies intel ops to locate remaining Abu Sayyaf hostages
The military in Western Mindanao on Tuesday said it has intensified its intelligence operations to locate the remaining hostages of the Abu Sayyaf Group after the beheading of their second Canadian hostage.
“What we are strengthening now is the intel collection kung nasan ba talaga at saka paano natin makukuha; ‘yun ang pinalalakas natin ngayon,” Western Mindanao Command spokesperson Major Filemon Tan said.
(What we are strengthening now is the intel collection on their exact location and how we can get them back.)
Canadian Robert Hall was executed Monday afternoon after the ransom deadline passed. He was abducted on Samal Island with three others– a Filipino, a Canadian and a Norwegian, last September.
John Ridsdel was the first Canadian who was beheaded last April.
The military is having a difficult time locating the hostages because of problems such as vegetation, long shoreline, and sympathizers or relatives of the terror group.
“’Yung Sulu, napaka-vegetated n’yan, highly dense… ang labas-pasok defined na defined. So we have to find ways [kung] saan tayo dadaan para hindi tayo ma-detect. Panagalawa, napakalaking shoreline n’yan… . Pangatlo yung mga kamag-anak nila. Hindi pa nakakarating ang sundalo, namomonitor na nila at sinasabi,” Tan said.
(Sulu is very vegetated, highly dense… Every exit and entry is defined. So we have to find ways where we can pass without being detected. Second, the shoreline is long… . Third is their relatives. Even though the soldiers haven’t arrived, they’ve already monitored it and they inform the others.)
There are still seven remaining hostages of the Abu Sayyaf–five of which are Filipinos. The two foreigners are Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Dutch birdwatcher Ewold Horn. JE
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