ces drilon was in and out in nine days. the red cross workers swiss andreas notter, italian eugenio vagni and filipina jean lacaba have been in the hands of the abu sayyaf since jan 15, that’s two months and 10 days today and still no release in sight.
as it turns out, this is no ordinary abu sayyaf venture pala. hindi ito tulad noong kay ces na kidnap-for-money raket, na even if the government was adamant kuno na hindi sila nagbabayad ng ransom, ever, kuno, still they didn’t stop the drilon family from paying up in the millions of bucks.
the red cross hostage-taking is different, radically different. it is, so far, no less than a kidnap-for-homeland gimik.
INDANAN, Sulu: The Abu Sayyaf is not demanding a ransom for the release of three volunteers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) whom the group abducted on January 15.
Abu Ali, a senior leader within the Abu Sayyaf, told The Manila Times that what they want is an independent Bangsamoro homeland.
“I would like to announce to all our Muslim brothers in the Philippines that what we are doing is not for our self-vested interest but for the interest of the Muslim ummah [community] in order to give them freedom as a Bangsamoro people as well as their right to self-determination,” Ali said.
further, according to ding gagelonia atmidfield :
… a reliable source told luwaran.com/net that the ASG has already released their demands to the government for the release of the three staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) kidnapped in Sulu on January 15.
The ASG demands are: 1) For the military to pull out their troops in the entire province of Sulu; and 2) For the government to declare Jolo as an open port between Malaysia and Sulu to boast the economic development of the people of Western Mindanao.
tugon ng red cross, at balik ng abu sayyaf:
A representative of the Red Cross who asked not to be identified and who was with Gordon in Mindanao said the organization could give millions of pesos in livelihood assistance to Sulu so that the peace would be restored in that province.
But Abu Ali said they would not sacrifice their lives if they are only after livelihood assistance.
“If we are only fighting for our livelihood, we might as well lay down our arms and turn into businessmen or farmers to earn a living. But that is not our motive but rather we are fighting for our homeland,” he pointed out.
When asked why they must kidnap Red Cross volunteers, Ali said that is the only way his group can gain attention, especially from the Philippine government.
“No matter how loud we shout and cry even everyday, still the Philippine government would not listen to us.”
tugon ng muslim oppositionist lawyer adel tamano:
Tamano told The Manila Times that “enough is enough” for Abu Sayyaf and all these kidnappings should stop once and for all as it has dragged the names of peace-loving Muslim Filipinos. He also sent a message to the Abu Sayyaf that if they are fighting in the name of Islam and for the sake of Bangsamoro people, they must not perpetrate kidnapping at the expense of the innocent.
so it’s not true that the abu sayyaf guys are not asking for anything in return for the release of the hostages. what’s true is that the palace chooses to ignore the kidnappers’ demand-for-homeland — it is simply not talked about, because how preposterous, how outrageous, how priceless?
instead the afp, on orders no doubt of the president or the-defense-secretary-who-would-be-president, has, with the help of visiting american technology, tracked down the whereabouts of the kidnappers and hostages and thrown a military cordon around the area, i suppose to limit the abu’s movements while the troops await the order to attack and rescue. rescue and attack?
meanwhile of course civil society and the international red cross have been calling for a peacefully negotiated release of the hostages. senator dick gordon, chair of the philippine red cross, had been negotiating with the abu via cellphone and the abu had agreed to release one hostage if the military would pull out from the area. instead there was a firefight last march 16 — the abu say the afp started it, but the afp will neither confirm nor deny (tulad ng kano) — and nothing to show but dead and wounded on both sides, buti na lang the hostages were not harmed.
no wonder gordon is fit to be tied. it doesn’t help, or maybe it does, that major general juancho sabban, commander of what seems a failed attack-and-rescue operation, has taken off for a week to speak at a columbia conference on anti-terrorism *lol*. seriously though, what’s up with ourmilitary? haven’t they been training all these last 8 years with the visiting american forces? why then do they continue to be such dismal failures at stopping the abu sayyaf, among other terrorist groups, and ending the reign of terrorism in sulu?
the latest is this abu sayyaf ultimatum:
Muslim militants holding captive three Red Cross workers in the southern Philippines have threatened to behead one of the hostages if government troops do not move out of their jungle hideouts by the end of the month, officials said Wednesday.
The latest threat was issued by Abu Sayyaf rebel leader Albader Parad on Monday as the military stepped up a blockade to prevent food and supplies from reaching the guerrillas in the hinterland of Indanan town on Jolo island, 1,000 kilometres south of Manila.
tugon ng militar:
Lt. Gen. Nelson Allaga, commander of military forces overseeing the operations in Sulu, said security forces will continue to maintain its presence in Indanan town and is closely working with Kasim and Sakur Tan, the provincial governor, who heads the government task force in-charge of securing the safe release of the hostages.
“We will maintain our presence in Indanan town,” he said, adding, any withdrawal of troops could pave the way for terrorists to escape and consolidate their forces.”
Tan also rejected Abu Sayyaf demands for a military pull out. “That is tantamount to surrendering the whole town to terrorists. I will not allow that to happen,” he said.
say naman ni afp spokesperson lt. col. ernesto torres over dzbb radio:
“Mahirap mag-rely sa kanilang sinasabi. They are asking for something in exchange for the freedom of the ICRC workers. Vinavalidate natin kung saan galing yung mga demand na ganiyan. Medyo malaki po yung hinihingi nila,” Torres said.
“Assuming it [demand] is true, ay parang pinullout natin yung tropa sa Sulu, which is not possible,” he added.
[It will be hard to rely on what they are saying. They are asking for something in exchange for the freedom of the ICRC workers. We are still verifying whether they are indeed making the demand. But assuming it is true, they are asking too much because it will be like pulling out our troops from the entire province.]
Torres said they also doubt that the Abu Sayyaf will fulfill its part of the “bargain” because last week, the bandits reneged on its agreement to release one of the ICRC volunteers after government forces repositioned its troops in Indanan town.
Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) chair Senator Richard Gordon last Saturday said Abu Sayyaf commander Albader Parad “is now asking for two-thirds” of Jolo – a larger portion of the island than originally agreed upon.
He said Parad also wanted the pullout of the armed barangay guards, which was not covered by the original agreement. Parad’s supposed demands are likely to be rejected by officials and the military, Gordon said.
so this crisis is not what djb over at FV says it is:
The months-long Red Cross hostage situation in Sulu is evolving into a major crisis as the government looks increasingly unable to do anything at all about it. It’s Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s ransom paying habits running right smack into the firm and unbending policy of the International Red Cross NEVER to pay ransoms in these terrorist kidnapping cases.
indeed, if it were money the abu sayyaf wants, the crisis would have long been resolved through a pay-up from some pocket or another, matapos lang, kahiyaan na. but it’s not money that the abu want this time. it would seem na nag-evolve na ang abu sayyaf. a la MILF, looking for a homeland, na ang drama nila.
interesting, di ba? who kaya is behind this change-of-politics ng abu sayyaf? what are the implications for the peace talks and the MILF’s campaign for a bangsamoro homeland? will/can the MILF ignore the new abu sayyaf or will/can there be a joining of forces?
gma and her defense-secretary-who-would-be-president teodoro must be praying very hard na magbago sana ang isip at mag-settle na lang for millions of pesos ang abu sayyaf in aid of a dramatic rescue of the three humanitarian workers. for the sakes of the three, i pray so too.