Abu Sayyaf seeks ransom for Malaysian
ZAMBOANGA, Philippines—Islamist militants blamed for the Philippines’ deadliest terror attacks are holding a Malaysian man hostage and have demanded a ransom, local police said Friday.
The Abu Sayyaf group holding Mohammad Nazaruddin bin Saidin relayed its ransom demand to a Malaysian consular official, who alerted police in the southern Philippines, according to regional police chief Felicisimo Khu.
The hostage, who has been described by local authorities as a 38-year-old who traded in lizards, was abducted on May 7 by about 10 gunmen near the town of Indanan on Jolo island.
Khu had previously identified the hostage as Mohammad Nasaruddin Bensaidin.
The consular official called up the Indanan police to alert them about the gunmen’s eight-million-peso ($186,000) demand, Khu said.
The group have since been seen with their hostage in a nearby village, Khu added.
Founded in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network, the Abu Sayyaf is responsible for the country’s worst attacks, including a 2004 ferry bombing that left more than 100 people dead.
The group is also blamed for repeated abductions of foreigners, local businessmen and missionaries, typically to raise money through ransom demands.
It is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, and hundreds of American soldiers have been training Filipino troops to crush the group since 2001.
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