Kidnapped Malaysian sailors yet to reach Jolo hideout
KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia—The five Malaysian sailors kidnapped off Sabah last week have yet to slip into Abu Sayyaf’s mountainous jungle hideout in Jolo.
They are believed to be held by self-proclaimed Abu Sayyaf commander Apo Mike alias Najan Sahidjuan at Pandami Island near Jolo in the Sulu province.
Jolo-based anti kidnapping activist Prof. Octavio Dinampo said they were held at Pandami where the gunmen felt secure as it was the “territory” of another Abu Sayyaf leader Mulphi Jurahmad, a comrade of Najan.
Mulphi and Najan were said to be among the kidnappers of the 21 Malaysians and foreign tourists from Sabah’s east coast Sipadan island in 2000.
“From there, the gunmen will try to bring in the five kidnap victims into Maimbung or Parang in Jolo before taking them to their mountainous jungle lair at Indanan,” Octavio said.
He said the abduction of the five sailors from a tugboat on July 18 was carried out notorious kidnap for ransom gang brothers Nikson and Brown Muktadil.
The five were then handed over to Najan who is perceived to be “reliable” among the Abu Sayyaf gunmen to guard the hostages and to deal their release.
“It’s a case of one success leading to another. He was successful in handling the Indonesian sailors a few months ago and they expect this to continue,” Octavio added.
He said there was a delay in bringing the five Malaysian sailors into Jolo amid house to house checks by Philippines security forces in the past week.
“They are carrying out the checks on the pretext of looking for drug pushers and addicts. They are hoping to catch other criminals as well,” Octavio added.
The five were reported missing from their tugboat at 3 p.m. on Monday by its owners after it was spotted listing in Dent Haven waters in Lahad Datu an hour earlier.
The other missing tugboat crewmen were Abd Rahim Summas, 62, Fandy Bakran, 26, Tayudin Anjut, 45, and Mohd Zumadil Rahim, 23 all from Tawau and Mohd Ridzuan Ismail, 32, from Pahang.
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