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Abu Sayyaf still holding 5 foreign captives, says released hostage

Publication Date : 29-07-2014


A construction worker released by Abu Sayyaf kidnappers on Sunday reported seeing five foreigners - two Germans, two Chinese and a Malaysian - still being held captive by the notorious bandit group in Sulu.

Remigio Linggayan (not Lingayan as earlier reported), who was kidnapped along with fellow construction worker Joselito Gonzales in Indanan, Sulu on June 5, said he did not know the names of the foreign captives.

But he said among them were two German nationals who appeared to be a couple.

The Anti Kidnapping Group said Linggayan might have been referring to Henrike Dielen and Stefan Victor Okonek, who were snatched off Palawan in April, and Chinese nationals Dina Tan and her daughter, Yahong.

The Tans were abducted last May in Basilan, where they operate a videoke bar. The elder Tan, who is married to a Filipino, has been living in Basilan with her daughter.

The identity of the Malaysian national was unclear though.

Linggayan said the Abu Sayyaf gunmen who had held him and Gonzales since June 5 treated all the captives humanely.

“We ate what they ate and they also treated us well,” Linggayan said.

But he said it was hard on the hostages when the bandits moved from one place to another, through slippery and steep trails in the mountains.

Linggayan said Gonzales, who was also his brother-in-law, died when government troops shelled the Abu Sayyaf lair where they were being held on June 19.

“We scampered for safety and I got separated from him. He was hit in the belly during the explosion,” he recounted.

He said all the group’s captives, minus Gonzales “who was killed,” regrouped later.

Sulu authorities said they have yet to confirm the reported death of Gonzales.

What was confirmed though was that the shelling by Marines on that same day killed seven members of the military’s Light Reaction Company.

A wayward shell landed in Light Reaction Company’s camp in Patikul, said Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The soldiers killed in what Tutaan and other military officials described as “friendly fire,” were Lt. Roger Flores, S/Sgt. Efrin Manayon, Sergeants Marvin Casarcero, Randy Reyes and Dexter Buntia and Corporals Randy Morada and Jose Mano Moron.

A military investigation was continuing to determine why a shell landed on LRC camp, according to Tutaan.

Meanwhile, Linggayan said his employer, Vice Gov. Abdusakur Tan of Sulu, Zamboanga City Mayor Ma. Isabel Climaco-Salazar, friends and his family, played key roles in his release.

“With their help and financial support, I was released,” Linggayan said.

The Sulu Anti-Kidnapping Task Force headed by Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz had reported that Linggayan was freed after the Abu Sayyaf received 500,000 pesos in ransom.

Linggayan’s wife, Analiza, said the larger portion of the ransom came from her “husband’s employer”.

Salazar confirmed she gave money to Analiza for fare to Sulu but clarified that she did not help raise the ransom money.

“I did not produce money for the ransom. What the local government also did was to coordinate [with Sulu officials] and ask that [the family] be given access to Jolo,” she said.


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