Sayyaf killed 5 hostages, says ex-captive

By Miko Santos

MANILA -- The Abu Sayyaf Group executed five hostages who were taken from a Sabah resort early this month, after the victims recognized their captors, a surviving former hostage told the military Tuesday.

According to Lt. Gen. Rodolfo Garcia, vice chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), 19-year-old Indonesian national Nonoy Argocen said his five companions were killed because they recognized their kidnapper as Abu Sayyaf leader Ghalib Andang alias Kumander Robot.

Argocen, whose mother is a Filipino, told the military that the bandits decided to execute also the captives after the management of Borneo Beach Resort and the Malaysian Government refused to pay the RM5 million (P72.85 million) ransom demand.

Argocen identified the victims as his father, Arzad Argocen, a Indonesian, and his mother, Amay. The other victims were identified as Asara Saraban, a Filipino, and two Indonesians who were identified only as Amir and Gito.

Argocen said they were taken from Borneo Beach Resort at 10 p.m. last October 2 by what he described as an "elite force of Malaysian marines", who later turned over the hostages to Andang.

Garcia said Argocen's five companions were "mercilessly shot by an armed group that held them in Tawi-Tawi."

Argocen was recovered 11 p.m. on Monday after he ran away from the kidnappers.

Authorities recovered Argocen from his abductors in the municipality of Languyan, Tawi-Tawi province after they were alerted by Malaysian authorities.

Earlier reports said three of the six victims were Filipinos. They were identified as Norberto Aresi and a certain Nico. The third, Nestor Ireneo, reportedly managed to escape.

It was not clear whether Aresi and Nico were with the group in Tawi-Tawi.

Police teams are scouring the area for any sign of their bodies.

29/10/2003

Bron : Sun Star

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