By Mohamed Ghouse Nasuruddin
The release of the five Malaysian hostages by the Abu Sayyaf terrorists is most welcome. They had initially demanded ransom amounting to 60 million pesos (RM5 million), but reduced it to RM3 million. According to the authorities no ransom was paid for their release.
The first two hostages were left near a village and the villagers handed them to the Philippine military forces, while the other three were found by the Philippine military forces.
According to reports in the media, the Abu Sayyaf terrorists had abandoned the hostages as they had become a liability when pursued by the Philippine military.
This is a strange but most welcome attitude change of the Abu Sayyaf, which is a departure from their standard modus operandi of only releasing hostages on the payment of ransom or killing them for non-payment.
Just in February the Abu Sayyaf beheaded German Jurgen Katner,70, because the US$600,000 ransom was not paid.
From their track record, the Abu Sayyaf terrorists have shown no mercy or humanitarian traits. They are ruthless, murderous and have resorted to kidnapping for ransom to fund their terrorist activities.
Irrespective of the scenario of the release of the five captives, the priority of saving lives overrides monetary and other considerations. But at the same time we must increase our vigilance and send a clear message to the terrorist group that we will not tolerate any incursion into our territory and they will be met with the full force of our homeland security forces.
Rather than being on the defensive we should initiate offensive strategies against Abu Sayyaf terrorists to safeguard our home and our citizens.
Mohamed Ghouse Nasuruddin is a keen observer in governance and an FMT reader.
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