Philippine military tags Abu Sayyaf in Sabah kidnapping
MANILA, April 4 (Xinhua) -- The terrorist group Abu Sayyaf may be behind the kidnapping of a Chinese tourist and a Filipina worker from a resort in Sabah, Malaysia, a senior Philippine government official said Friday.
Citing a report from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the kidnappers are part of the group of Murphy Ambang Ladia, alias Haji Gulam, who is a native of Pandami Island in the southern Philippine province of Sulu.
Lacierda said Ladia is a former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader who joined the breakaway group of MNLF Founding Chairman Nur Misuari in 2001 and was designated as MBG Logistics and Transportation Officer. Ladia later joined the Abu Sayyaf operating in Tawi-Tawi province under Binang Sahirol.
Initial available information obtained further stated that said abductors proceeded in vicinity of Simunul Municipality, Tawi- Tawi, eluding Malaysian authorities conducting pursuit operations, Lacierda said.
He said the kidnappers boarded a white speed boat together with the victims then fled towards the Philippine Sea.
Lacierda said government security forces have launched a search operation to rescue the victims.
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs has identified the Filipino victim as Marcelita Dayawan, 40, a staff member of the Singamata Reef Resort in Sabah.
Dayawan and Chinese tourist Gao Huayun, 29, were seized by seven fully armed men in Singamata Reef Resort on Wednesday night.
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