The Armed Forces of the Philippines says that Abu Sayyaf will be nailed down, days after the release of two German hostages. “It is just a matter of time and with a lot of patience we can nail them down,” Task Force Sulu Commander Col. Allan Arrojado.
Arrojado added that every actions must be according to plan, and what they are doing is not a walk in the park, they can be ambushed and landmines may surprise them anytime.
Three Abu Sayyaf camps were already discovered in Patikul, Sulu – one was used to house the hostages who were released Friday night. “We have already entered their enclave that for so long the troops could not patrol,” Arrojado noted.
The terror group claims that PhP250 million ransom was paid resulting to the release of hostages Viktor Stefan Okonek and Henrike Dielen. However, Philippine officials say no ransom was paid.
AFP described the claim as propaganda. “Of course, he (Abu Sayyaf spokesman) can always say that. As far as I know, there was no ransom paid, at least not from our side because we don’t negotiate with terrorists,” AFP public affairs office chief Lt Col Harold Cabunoc.
“I cannot confirm that there has been a ransom paid primarily because the long-standing government policy is that we do not engage in the payment of ransoms,” Presidential deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said.