Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte is in news yet again. However, it is not on account of his war on drugs. This time, President Duterte has given a green signal to Philippines’ troops to bomb terrorists, who might be fleeing with their victims. He believes that any loss of civilian life during the altercation between the soldiers or coast guards and the terrorists is ‘collateral damage.’ He has also advised civilians to be alert and not get abducted by kidnappers at the sea.
Duterte’s statements came on Saturday during his address to businessmen in Davao. He revealed that he had given a similar message to authorities in Indonesia and Malaysia. He continued that Indonesian and Malaysian forces were free to bomb terrorists, who kidnapped sailors, in an effort to extract money from the hostages’ governments in the form of ransom.
An article in Big Story states that the comments reflect his desperation in curbing the menace of ransom kidnappings. These are currently carried out by Abu Sayyaf militants and their allies. The Abu Sayyaf organization formed in early 1990s. Till date it already has a number of beheadings and killings to its credit. Many believe that Duterte’s statements come on back of his desperation to stop the gang from carrying out further kidnappings. “They say ‘hostages. ‘Sorry, collateral damage,’” he said in his speech.
“You can’t gain mileage for your wrongdoing, I will really have you blasted,” he added. An article in The Age states that Duterte believes that his comments and his approach to dealing with the Abu Sayyaf militants will make the right impact. This is because the terrorist group thinking twice before kidnapping civilians.
— Astro AWANI (@501Awani) November 28, 2016
Abu Sayyaf victims
An article in Yahoo News states that the group has now released Captain Park Chul-hong from South Korea and his Filipino crewmen. While the hostages were lucky to be alive, some others were not so fortunate. For instance, the gang beheaded and killed two Canadians, Robert Hall and John Ridsdel after their government refused to pay the ransom to get them freed.
Many believe that the group also holds hostages from countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines, the Netherlands, South Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia. Nobody knows about the fate of German hostage Jurgen Kantner. Last Wednesday, Abu Sayyaf, who has allegiance to Islamic State group released a video threatening to behead and kill Kanter if German government failed to cough up $10 million in ransom.
Then there was Warren Rodwell, an Australian adventurer. The group picked him up from his home in Southern Philippines in 2011 at gun point. It held him as a captive for 472 days. The group released him only after his family paid $100,000 in ransom.
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