KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 — Abu Sayyaf militants are beating and threatening to kill Malaysian hostages they are holding, alleged one such abductee who was allowed to speak to the media.
According to a report by The Star newspaper today, Mohd Ridzuan Ismail — one of the five Malaysians kidnapped by the terrorist group in July — also said their captors were torturing them and not feeding the captives.
“We can’t bear it any more. We are in pain. All of us are sick. We have cuts on our bodies. We are weak. No food to eat. What’s more, we are beaten. There are people who want to shoot us. Please help us,” he was quoted as saying during a phone call to the newspaper.
The Abu Sayyaf kidnappers contacted The Star last week and made Mohd Ridzuan convey the message purportedly from Jolo Island in the Philippines where they are thought to be held.
The other Malaysians who were kidnapped by the terror group include Tayudin Anjut, Abd Rahim Summas, Mohd Zumadil Rahim and Fandy Bakran.
“We’re suffering in Jolo Island. We appeal to the Malaysian government and our boss to negotiate for our release as we want to return home as soon as possible, Mohd Ridzuan was further quoted as saying.
The Abu Sayyaf group is reportedly demanding for 100 million pesos (RM8.5 million) to release the captives.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun declined to comment when contacted by The Star.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed reportedly said he will direct the police to intensify negotiations and communications with the kidnappers to free the victims.
Abductions of locals and tourists for ransom by Filipino gunmen continue with disturbing regularity in Sabah despite the formation of Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) to ostensibly improve border and maritime security in the state.
The incidents were enough for countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand to issue travel warnings and advisories for their citizens who were considering visiting Sabah.
Malaysia officially does not recognise such ransom demands, but doubts were raised after the families of victims from a previous incident said they raised RM12 million to ransom the four Sarawakian sailors who were abducted on April 1.