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Abu Sayyaf planned mass kidnapping of tourists on Easter Sunday

Hostages kidnapped from a tourist resort last year, including Canadians Robert Hall and John Ridsdel, who were both beheaded

The Abu Sayyaf terrorists who landed on Bohol yesterday were planning a mass kidnapping at a tourist resort, the military has said today (Wednesday, April 12).

The raid came just two days after the US Embassy in Manila warned that the Islamic State-affiliated group was planning an attack in the Central Visayas region.

Military chief of staff General Eduardo Año said the group were planning to lie low until Easter Sunday when they would swoop on a resort when it was packed to capacity for the holiday. “They are expecting probably to kidnap four or five persons per boat, so at least 10 to 12 kidnap victims was their plan,” he said.

The terrorists, now believed to number 11, landed on the popular tourist island on Tuesday. Within hours they were engaged by security forces in clashes that left six militants dead and also cost the lives of three soldiers and a policeman.

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Among the dead, was Abu Sayyaf leader Moammar Askali, also known as Abu Rami, who was involved in the beheadings of Canadians Robert Hall and John Ridsdel and German Jurgen Kantner.

Abu Sayyaf leader Abu Rami has been confirmed killed in the raid

The army and police continue to hunt the remaining five Abu Sayyaf gunmen, along with any local collaborators. “They are all running for their lives,” said General Año.

Abu Sayyaf launched their strike from their stronghold on Jolo Island, which is about 300 miles to the south of Bohol.

Philippine intelligence agencies got wind of the plan last week, and alerted foreign counterpart agencies, leading to the warning from the US Embassy.

However, it seems that President Duterte wasn’t informed. When asked about the embassy’s warning as he left for a trip to the Middle East, he said: “Why should you worry about the US embassy? I should be worrying about my country, not the American embassy.”

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Although they knew the raid had been launched, intelligence agencies lost track of the terrorists in the open seas.

Following the attack, authorities in nearby Cebu have warned people to be vigilant. “It is unlikely that they have the operational capability to do further damage now. However, other elements may exist,” Cebu city Mayor Tomas Osmena said on his Facebook page.

Meanwhile, two Abu Sayyaf sub-leaders and nine of their followers have surrendered to the military in Tawi-Tawi.

Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said Berong Sariol and his brother Ben Saudi Dambong Sariol yielded voluntarily at 6pm on Tuesday.

The other nine who surrendered are also members of the same family. They are Jasim Dambong, Mujil Dambong, Magelan Langal, Kael Sariol, Nurhamin Sariol, Alhan Sariol, Amnisain Sariol, Akmad Sariol and Benasil Sariol.

A total of 16 Abu Sayyaf members have surrendered to the government recently.

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However, the militants still hold at least 29 captives on Sulu, many of them foreign crewmen seized from their ships.

MORE ON ABU SAYYAF AND TERRORISM IN THE PHILIPPINES:

Nine dead after Islamic-State linked terrorists storm tourist island

US Embassy warns that terror groups plan to kidnap tourists in Cebu and Bohol

Abu Sayyaf terrorists kill three militiamen, while others lay down arms

Couple suspected of Islamic State bomb plot arrested in Manila

Battle-hardened Islamic State fighters plan to regroup in southern Philippines

Australian foreign minister fears Islamic State is coming to the Philippines

Factsheet: The Abu Sayyaf terror group – who they are and what they do

“Now he kills me”: Last words of German beheaded by Abu Sayyaf

Duterte says Abu Sayyaf ‘not criminals’, and blames US for terrorism

Islamic State plotting new terror stronghold in Mindanao

Islamic State chief seriously wounded as he plotted new lair for terrorists

UK jihadist who said bullet-proof boxer shorts were “snake protection” found guilty

Islamic State cash flows into Philippines disguised as OFW remittances

1 Comment on "Abu Sayyaf planned mass kidnapping of tourists on Easter Sunday"

  1. david reece | April 15, 2017 at 10:08 am |

    They should target the ones they have a gripe with not innocent tourist or innocent people just trying to live in peace.There are no winners in war and these terrorist groups may cause carnage but will never win in the end.There is no paradise awaiting only misery for loved ones left behind.Time to hold talks with them to find out really what they want.We have a lot of Muslims in Australia all living a peaceful life and abiding by our laws however the actions of a few tarnish them all

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