Abu Sayyaf a major terror threat?

The resurgent Abu Sayyaf terrorist group is flying the Isis flag in the Philippines – but not everyone is convinced by their posturing.

Does Abu Sayyaf pose a major terror threat to Southeast Asia?

By: Paul Millar

On the night of 25 April, during a blackout on Jolo Island in the southwest Philippines, a man’s head was thrown off the back of a motorbike. Wrapped in a plastic bag and cloaked in the shadows of a lightless city, the five children who found it didn’t see the blood until the power returned.

A week later, Abu Sayyaf released a graphic video showing 68-year-old Canadian John Ridsdel being beheaded with a machete by an unidentified member of the terrorist group. It had been seven months since the businessman was taken from a resort on the island of Samal along with fellow Canadian Robert Hall, Filipina Teresita Flor and Norwegian marina manager Kjarten Sekkingstad. The price for their freedom was set at $6.5m each. The last deadline had passed; the ransom left unpaid.

Earlier this year, Abu Sayyaf carried out a series of abductions in the waters around the southern Philippines, seizing 18 foreign hostages over three separate on-water raids in less than a month. In May, ten Indonesian sailors held by the group were released after their employer agreed to hand over more than $1m to the kidnappers – a payment negotiators in the Indonesian military deny was ever made.

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Source: sea-globe.com

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