Tuesday, September 11, 2012

2001 To be added to list


January 3, 2001, Philippine Headline News, Sayyaf Threatens to Kill Schilling,
January 4, 2001, The South China Morning Post, HK, Hostage negotiator to spill dirt in new book,
April 2, 2001, Reuters, Philippines declares all-out war on Abu Sayyaf : "Take no prisoners."
April 9, 2001, AFP, US worried about Philippine rebels in Malaysia,
April 10, 2001, AFP, Malaysia says islands off Borneo safe from Philippine rebels,
April 12, 2001, The Sun, Najib: No truth in US advisory on Sabah island resorts
April 15, 2001, The Straits Times, Abu Sayyaf kidnappers may take refuge in Malaysia
April 16, 2001, AFP, Malaysia to ask US to retract warnings on Sabah resort islands,
May 25, 2001, AFP, Ransom paid for four alleged Abu Sayyaf hostages: Malaysian police
May 27, 2001, The Straits Times, Muslim rebels seize US tourists, by Arturo Bariuad,
May 27, 2001, AFP, Malaysian armed forces on high alert for Filipino kidnappers,
May 27, 2001, The Associated Press, Americans among group said kidnapped in Philippines
May 27, 2001, Manila Bulletin, 13 killed in Davao beach resort, Basilan clashes.
May 27, 2001, BBC News, Analysis: Philippines kidnapping 'industry', by John Maclean
May 27, 2001, Reuters, Philippines Gunmen Seize 20 Hostages from Tourist Resort on Palawan Island,
May 28, 2001, BBC News, Assault ordered on Philippine kidnappers,
May 28, 2001, Reuters, Muslim rebels take blame for kidnap of 20 in Philippines,
May 28, 2001, Bernama, Philippines Rules Out Paying Ransom, by Al Labita Jr,
May 28, 2001, Bernama, Palawan Abduction - Fear Not, Chong Tells Sabahans,
May 28, 2001, AP International, Muslim Extremists Claim Kidnappings, by Paul Alexander,
May 28, 2001, The Independent, Gunmen Take Tourists Hostage in Philippines by Richard Lloyd Parry,
May 28, 2001, The Birmingham Post (England) Filipino kidnappers flee with US tourists.
May 28, 2001, Washington Post, Gunmen Seize Tourists At Philippine Resort, by Rajiv Chandrasekaran,
May 28, 2001, The Herald News - Joliet (IL) Hostages Seized
May 28, 2001, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Hunt is on for Abductors of 3 Americans, Others,
May 28, 2001, Cincinnati Post / AP, Hostage Crisis Grips Philippines Three Americans Among Captured,
May 28, 2001, Charleston Daily Mail / AP, Raid came as a surprise; Americans among those kidnapped at luxury resort,
May 28, 2001, AP / The Columbian (Vancouver) 20 Hostages Taken From Resort, Paul Alexander,
May 28, 2001, NPR All Things Considered, Linda Wertheimer, Interview: John McLean discusses the current hostage situation involving a Muslim rebel group and a group of tourists in the Philippines
May 28, 2001, Chicago Sun-Times, 3 U.S. hostages taken in Philippines,
May 31, 2001, (Cover date: June 7) FEER, [The Far Eastern Economic Review] Regional Briefing,
June 9, 2001, AFP, FBI joins hunt for Philippine rebels,
June 11, 2001, AP / AFP, One American beheaded, says Abu Sayyaf,
June 12, 2001, Reuters, Philippine rebels say U.S. hostage executed,
June 15, 2001, AFP, US warns again on travel to Sabah,
June 18, 2001, AP International, American Hostage Believed Dead,
June 18, 2001, LJWorld, Archive for Monday, June 18, 2001: Philippines, U.S. captive feared dead,
June 18, 2001, Chicago Tribune News, California hostage likely dead, authorities say,
June 28, 2001, Filipino Reporter, Fil-Ams skipping R.P. trips,
July 10, 2001, Manila Bulletin, Abu Sayyaf Leader Nabbed in GenSan, Aris R. Ilagan, Bong Reblando,
October 13, 2001, AP, Filipino Muslim extremist group kidnaps four behead two




January 3, 2001, Philippine Headline News, Sayyaf Threatens to Kill Schilling,

Zamboanga City, Jan. 3, 2001 - If only to prove to the world that American Jeffrey Craig Edwards Schilling is a true hostage, Abu Sayyaf bandits yesterday said they were ready to kill him .

Abu Cantada, who had identified himself as a spokesman for the group, told a local radio station that the government was "trying to create a scenario" to cover up the embarrassment resulting from Schilling’s kidnapping.

Reports earlier said that Schilling was a "walk-in hostage" and that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents are in the country to gather evidence against him. US Embassy press officer Lonnie Kelley clarified yesterday there was no truth to the report that US authorities were planning to charge Schilling in connection with his abduction by the Abu Sayyaf.

The Abu Sayyaf claims that 24-year-old Schilling, from Oakland in California, was taken captive when he and his Filipina wife visited the bandits’ hideout in the jungles of Sulu on Aug. 28 last year.

Cantada also denied allegations that the Abu Sayyaf was behind the spate of bombings in Metro Manila that killed 17 people and wounded scores of others last Saturday.

A few days before the bombings, police intelligence agents arrested Hector Janjalani, brother of Abu Sayyaf leader Khaddafi Janjalani, at a mall in Manila.



January 4, 2001, The South China Morning Post, HK, Hostage negotiator to spill dirt in new book,

AGENCIES in Kuala Lumpur

A Malaysian businessman who helped negotiate the release of hostages held by Muslim rebels in the southern Philippines said yesterday he was writing a book that would "expose the secrets and lies" surrounding the episode.

Yusof Hamdan said he had tape-recordings and documents to prove a "high-ranking Philippine official" and others tried to get a cut of the millions of dollars paid in ransom to the Abu Sayyaf rebels.

Mr Yusof said the separatists, who reportedly received US$15 million (HK$116 million) in ransom for 20 of 21 hostages kidnapped last April from Malaysia's Sipadan diving resort, were initially more interested in highlighting their rebellion than receiving ransom.

"This book will hit out at the real bad guys who manipulated the situation for their own benefit," he said. "It will expose the secrets and lies behind the negotiations. I have voice recordings and written evidence of certain lower-ranking officials and lackeys of some politicians and opportunists, both Filipino and non-Filipino, who did try to get their hands on part of the money the Libyans were ready to pay to the Abu Sayyaf for the release of the hostages."

Mr Yusof was critical of unnamed Malaysians for deliberately prolonging and sabotaging the negotiations. "They literally made it more costly in the end because through their machinations, they managed to jack up the price for the release of the hostages and thus get a bigger cut of the proceeds."

Mr Yusof refused to immediately name the Philippine officials he accused of wrongdoing. He said his book, tentatively entitled The Truth Behind Sipadan, was half-finished and he was in final negotiations with a US publisher.

He denied he was trying to capitalise on widespread interest by writing the book, which he hoped would be ready by March. He did not think it would hurt diplomatic relations between Kuala Lumpur and

Manila, which had been strained after months of failure by Philippine negotiators to secure the hostages' freedom.

Initially, the rebels' formal demands were all political - a complicating factor, since Manila had repeatedly ruled out Abu Sayyaf's main goal of an independent Islamic state in the impoverished southern Philippines.

In September, after they had received large ransoms from Libya and Malaysia and released most of the Sipadan hostages, the rebels re-entered Malaysian waters and kidnapped three Malaysian workers from

Pandanan island resort.

These Malaysians were freed by Philippine troops several weeks later after President Joseph Estrada ordered a massive military rescue operation. The last of the Sipadan hostages, Filipino Roland Ulla, is

still in Abu Sayyaf hands, along with American Jeffrey Schilling, a Muslim convert.


April 2, 2001, Reuters, Philippines declares all-out war on Abu Sayyaf: "Take no prisoners."

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered an all-out war against Islamic rebels who have threatened to behead a U.S. hostage, and told soldiers to "take no prisoners" except those who willingly surrender. "We shall...pursue them and annihilate them," she said after the Abu Sayyaf guerrillas announced they would present the head of American Jeffrey Schilling as a birthday gift to Arroyo on Thursday if she refused their demand for negotiations through an Arab diplomat.

"My, government will not be held hostage by a band of bandits," Arroyo said.

Schilling, 25, from Oakland, California, has been in Abu Sayyaf custody for seven months.

Arroyo made the announcement at a news conference after a closed door meeting with senior generals where she gave them what an officer called their "marching orders."

"Today, I have ordered an all-out war against the Abu Sayyaf," she said.

"They will be annihilated," she said when asked what her government would do if the Abu Sayyaf carried out its threat to kill Schilling and deliver his head to Arroyo on Thursday, when she turns 54.

Arroyo denounced the group as "a money-crazed gang of criminals" without any ideology and said: "We will never, ever negotiate with them."

BACKING FROM WASHINGTON

Asked if her order was for soldiers to take no prisoners, Arroyo said: "Take no prisoners."

She later softened her remarks by saying, "Take no prisoners, except those who willingly surrender."

She said she had talked to U.S. Embassy officials who told her Washington was supporting her move.

Asked if the country's economy, saddled with a massive budgetary deficit, could afford a war, Arroyo said: "This is a kind of war we cannot afford not to wage."

The Abu Sayyaf, one of two rebel groups fighting for an Islamic state in the south of the mainly Catholic country, burst onto the world stage last year when it seized more than 40 foreigners and Filipinos from nearby Malaysian tourist resorts and from Jolo.

All of the kidnap victims have been freed -- mostly in exchange for huge ransoms -- except for Schilling and Filipino Roland Ullah, who are still being held on Jolo, 600 miles (960 km) south of Manila.

Earlier on Monday, an Abu Sayyaf spokesman said on local radio the group would behead Schilling and present his head to Arroyo if she did not agree to the rebels' demand for Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Manila to
negotiate with them.

"If they want to save Jeffrey, they should bring the ambassador of Saudi Arabia here. Otherwise we will cut off the head of Jeffrey Schilling," rebel spokesman Abu Sabaya said.

BAD KARMA

"It will not be good karma (fate) for a president (to receive) a decapitated head as a birthday gift, just like what we did to Erap," Sabaya said, referring to deposed president Joseph Estrada by his nickname.

"He failed to complete his term as president."

Abu Sabaya was referring to the beheading by the guerrillas of two kidnapped Filipino teachers on Basilan island, near Jolo, on Estrada's birthday, which also falls in April, last year.

Estrada was ousted in a "people power" revolt in January which catapulted his vice- president, Arroyo, to the presidency.

The Abu Sayyaf beheaded the two teachers after Estrada rejected a package of rebel demands.

The Abu Sayyaf has threatened to execute Schilling at least five times. It has allowed the American to speak on local radio to plead for his life.

The Abu Sayyaf threat against Schilling came a week after Arroyo announced her government would resume peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the main group fighting for a separate Muslim state in
the south.

Arroyo said news on the military operations against the Abu Sayyaf would be restricted.

"There will be some blackout. We cannot conduct war like a basketball game where you have a gallery watching," she said.



April 9, 2001, AFP, US worried about Philippine rebels in Malaysia,

WASHINGTON, April 9 (AFP) - The United States said Monday it was increasingly concerned about attacks by the Philippine-based Abu Sayyaf Muslim rebel group on parts of Malaysia's Sabah state.

The State Department warned US citizens to take "extreme caution" in the area and warned that the group had stationed detachments in places including the islands of Sipadan and Pandanan, where gunmen have previously carried out kidnappings.

"The region is remote and large in area, and assistance in security matters may not be readily available," the department said in a public announcement.

Relations between Manila and Kuala Lumpur have twice been broken off over the Philippine claim to Sabah, which dates back to 1704.

Malaysia now pays 5,300 ringgit (1,394 dollars) annually in what it calls cession money for the region.

The Muslim Abu Sayyaf group severely embarrassed the Philippines government last year when it launched a massive kidnapping spree on Philippine soil, and took large groups of foreigners hostage.

It still holds two captives an American, Jeffrey Schilling, and a Filipino.



April 10, 2001, AFP, Malaysia says islands off Borneo safe from Philippine rebels

KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 (AFP) - Malaysia Tuesday countered US concern about attacks by Philippine rebels on its islands off Borneo, saying the islands had improved security and were safe for tourists.

The United States said Monday it was increasingly concerned about attacks by the Abu Sayyaf Muslim rebel group on parts of Malaysia's Sabah state.

The State Department warned US citizens to take "extreme caution" in the area, saying the group had stationed detachments in places including the Sipadan and Pandanan islands where gunmen last year carried out a spate of kidnappings.

"The region is remote and large in area, and assistance in security matters may not be readily available," it said.

But Malaysian Defence Minister Najib Tun Razak said this was untrue as security had been improved on the affected islands.

"There is no truth to it. The islands off Sabah are secure. We have placed a lot of security personnel on these islands," he said.

The number of tourists visiting Sabah, including Sipadan island, had increased despite last year's abductions, he added.

Abu Sayyaf severely embarrassed the Philippines government last year when it launched a massive kidnapping spree and took groups of foreigners hostage.

It still holds two captives: American Jeffrey Schilling and Filipino Roland Ullah.
Najib added that the government would monitor the situation in Thailand after weekend bombings in the country's south, blamed on Muslim rebels. The attacks left one child dead and nearly 50 people injured.

"All we can do is to monitor the situation and make sure our border is secure so that there will be no intrusions," Najib said.

"We have security checkpoints along the border and will continue patrolling those areas," he said.



April 12, 2001, The Sun, Najib: No truth in US advisory on Sabah island resorts

KUALA LUMPUR, Tues: Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak dismissed a reminder by the US State Department today that Sabah's east coast island resorts were unsafe holiday spots. The undated advisory carried by AFP today said US citizens were to take extreme caution over likely attacks by the Abu Sayyaf rebels whom, the advisory said, had members stationed around Sabah including on Sipadan and Pandanan islands.

"There is no truth in that (US government advisory) as Sabah islands are secure, with enough forces guarding them on land, sea and air, and the situation is under control especially on the mentioned islands,"



April 15, 2001, The Straits Times, Abu Sayyaf kidnappers may take refuge in Malaysia

MANILA - Philippine authorities have warned Malaysia that the kidnappers of a rescued US hostage could cross the sea border and take refuge there, a senior aide to President Gloria Arroyo said yesterday.

On Thursday, Filipino troops raided a hideout of the Abu Sayyaf rebels on the southern Philippine island of Jolo and rescued Californian Jeffrey Schilling, who had been held for more than seven months.

'Malaysia is the nearest escape destination, but the Malaysian government is also training its eye on their possible arrival,' said National Security Adviser Roilo Golez. --AFP

Datuk Seri Syed Hamid said bilateral ties between both countries should not be affected as long as there was no official endorsement and there was the assurance from the Indonesian government that it would not
meddle in Malaysia's internal affairs.

The Foreign Minister said: 'When we are unhappy about something and have proof to back our claim, we will take it up with the Indonesian government for further action.

'This is the spirit and principle on which Asean solidarity is based.

'There is no group in Indonesia, which is preoccupied with its own internal problems, which wants to meddle in our affairs.

'It is our people who invited them and failed. This is a question of security, and we will be cautious and monitor any eventuality.'

But there would always be people who would look for scapegoats for any incident that takes place in their country, said Datuk Seri Syed Hamid, commenting on recent reports in the Thai media that separatist groups
responsible for the recent explosion in southern Thailand had met in Kuala Lumpur to plan the attack.

The source was quoted as having said that the meeting was held in Kuala Lumpur last month before the separatist group sent the bomb experts to southern Thailand.

Datuk Seri Syed Hamid said the Malaysian government had stated repeatedly that it would not get involved with any separatist groups.

Referring to the Thai authorities, he said: 'Political indifferences and misunderstandings are a country's internal problems.

'But if they want to show proof that Malaysia is involved, we will cooperate and see what happens.'--Bernama



April 16, 2001, AFP, Malaysia to ask US to retract warnings on Sabah resort islands,

KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 (AFP) - Malaysia will ask the United States to retract a warning to Americans against visiting resort islands off the eastern state of Sabah, Tourism Minister Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fazdir said Monday.

Abdul Kadir said he would soon contact US ambassador Lynn Pascoe to explain that the islands are safe.

"I'll also invite him to visit Sabah to see for himself the situation here, with all expenses paid by the Malaysian government," he told reporters in the Sabah state capital Kota Kinabalu.

"Actually, Sabah is a safe destination for tourists," Bernama news agency quoted the minister as saying.

Abu Sayyaf kidnappers from the southern Philippines grabbed foreign and Malaysian hostages last year in raids on Sipadan and Pandanan islands.

Last week the US State Department warned its citizens to take "extreme caution" when visiting the islands and nearby areas on the mainland.

It said the Abu Sayyaf "remains a security threat" to parts of Sabah.

While Malaysia had troops and police on the islands, the region was remote and security assistance may not be readily available, the advisory said.

Defence Minister Najib Razak said last week the advisory was misleading.

"There is no truth to it. The islands off Sabah are secure. We have placed a lot of security personnel on these islands," he said.

The number of tourists visiting Sabah, including Sipadan island, had increased despite last year's abductions, Najib added.

Apart from Filipino Roland Ullah, all the hostages seized in Malaysia have been freed -- often after large ransom payments.

Last week, Philippine troops raided an Abu Sayyaf hideout and rescued American Jeffrey Schilling, who was seized after visiting the bandits' camp.

On Sunday, the Philippine National Security Adviser Roilo Golez said Malaysian authorities had been warned that Schilling's captors could take refuge there.



May 25, 2001, AFP, Ransom paid for four alleged Abu Sayyaf hostages: Malaysian police

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP): Three Indonesian and a Filipino hostages kidnapped from a Malaysian resort on Borneo island were released from an eight-month ordeal allegedly at the hands of Al-Qaeda-linked Muslim militants after a ransom was paid, police said onMonday.

Mohamad Bakri, chief of criminal investigations in eastern Sabah, told AFP the hostages were released early Monday and had been sent to a local hospital for medical checks.

Iliyas Ibrahim, Sabah police chief, said a ransom of some RM 200,000 (US$52,000) was paid for the release of the captives.

Civilian negotiators carried the money to Philippines' Tawi-Tawi Island on May 22, he said, but did not say where the money came from.

Iliyas said one of the hostages, a 27 year-old Indonesian known as Anwar, died two months ago and was buried in Tawi-Tawi Island.

Another hostage, Filipino Novelito Arcosel, escaped on Oct. 29 and is believed to still be in the southern Philippines, he said.

Sources in the Philippines said the four hostages were freed after negotiations conducted by an unnamed Malaysian businessman although military sources in Zamboanga city said the hostages escaped from their captors.

Police identified the hostages as Zarah Sariban of thePhilippines and three Indonesian nationals, Amir Akbar, Arshad Zagoni, and Suwito.

Last October, a band of 10 armed kidnappers staged a daring attack on the tiny riverside Borneo Paradise Resort by speedboat and seized their captives.

Suspicion immediately fell on the Abu Sayyaf, which kidnapped 21 people, mostly Western tourists, from Sipadan resort in Sabah in April 2000. --Jakarta Post



May 27, 2001, The Straits Times, Muslim rebels seize US tourists, by Arturo Bariuad,

Muslim group Abu Sayyaf accused of taking 20 hostages in armed raid on upmarket Philippines holiday resort

MANILA - Suspected Abu Sayyaf Muslim rebels seized 20 people, including three Americans, after raiding a popular upscale resort on Palawan island yesterday, catching authorities off guard and sparking concern about its impact on the tourism industry.

The raid came despite assertions by Philippine authorities that all resorts in the Southern Philippines were on high alert after an attack five days ago on a resort in Davao.

In the latest incident, investigators said about 20 men, armed with assault rifles, carried out the 15-minute raid at about 5 am on the Dos Palmas resort off Puerto Princesa City, about 500 km southwest of here.

Resort workers said the raiders arrived on the resort like regular guests after which they held several staff members at gunpoint.

Another group went to the cottages built on stilts and grabbed the tourists who were sleeping.

The military named the abducted Americans as Mr Martin Burham and his wife Gracia, a Protestant missionary couple who were celebrating their wedding anniversary, and Mr Guillermo Sobero.

The others seized included Filipino tourists - an eight-year-old boy and ethnic Chinese-Filipinos among them -and four Filipino resort workers.

Witnesses said the raiders left in the two high-speed boats with their victims.

Late in the afternoon, National Security Adviser Roilo Golez said the kidnappers and their hostages were last seen 'very close' to the Malaysian border, prompting Manila to seek Kuala Lumpur's help in intercepting them.

The Royal Malaysian Navy said it was on alert to prevent the kidnappers from slipping into Malaysian territory.

Presidential spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao said: 'Our policy stands. There will be no negotiations for any kind of ransom.'

The latest abductions was yet another heavy blow to the country's efforts to attract foreign investors and boost the tourism industry, which suffered badly last year following a series of kidnappings by Abu Sayyaf bandits.

Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon said security in all resorts in Southern Philippines had been beefed up and described the Palawan attack as an 'unfortunate incident'.

All other tourist resorts on Palawan have now been put on higher alert.

Authorities also launched hot-pursuit operations against the bandits, while President Gloria Arroyo ordered the safe recovery of all the victims - sending armed forces chief General Diomedio Villanueva to lead the rescue efforts.

The raid on Palawan was the second attack by gunmen on a tourist resort in five days.

Just before midnight last Tuesday, suspected Abu Sayyaf members attacked the luxurious Pearl Farm resort in Davao killing two employees. They took four local hostages, one of whom later escaped.

Officials refused to confirm whether the Dos Palmas attack was the work of the Abu Sayyaf group although resort staff said the raiders spoke in a dialect used by the rebels.

But Mr Tiglao said one report indicated that the Palawan raiders are Abu Sayyaf members who went on a kidnapping spree in Malaysian island resorts last year, taking 21 mostly western hostages, several of whom were ransomed for millions of dollars.


May 27, 2001, AFP, Malaysian armed forces on high alert for Filipino kidnappers,

KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 (AFP) - Malaysian security forces in the eastern state of Sabah have been put on high alert to prevent a group of Filipino kidnappers holding 20 hostages from slipping into the country, officials said Sunday.

A navy spokesman said they were informed early Sunday about the kidnapping of 20 people including three Americans from a resort on Palawan island in the western Philippines.

"We have been told about it and we have put our men on full alert ... they are now on the ground," he said, Bernama news agency reported. He declined to elaborate.

Palawan is about two hours' boat ride from Kudat on the northern tip of Sabah.

Sunday's pre-dawn attack on the Dos Palmas resort off Palawan island was believed staged by the notorious Abu Sayyaf guerrillas, who struck twice in Malaysia last year.

They fled with the 20 tourists and resort workers in a motor boat that was later found abandoned.

Philippine National Security Adviser Roilo Golez said that when last seen, the kidnappers and their hostages were close to the Malaysian sea border and Manila was in touch with Kuala Lumpur for possible help in intercepting them.

On April 23 last year Abu Sayyaf gunmen raided the Malaysian diving resort of Sipadan, off the Sabah coast, and fled across the sea border to their Jolo island stronghold with 10 Western tourists and 11 resort workers.

On September 10 they raided Pandanan island near Sipadan and seized three Malaysians.

All but one of the Sipadan and Pandanan hostages either escaped or were freed, some of them after the payment of millions of dollars in ransom to the bandits.

Malaysia has mounted a huge land, air and sea security operation on resort islands and in waters off Sabah since last year's abductions. It plans shortly to introduce designated sea lanes off the state to make it easier to check suspicious craft. --AFP



May 27, 2001, The Associated Press, Americans among group said kidnapped in Philippines
1:25 am ET

MANILA, Philippines (AP) Gunmen abducted about 20 people, including at least two Americans, at a resort in the Philippines on Sunday, the country's military chief said.

The kidnappings occurred at the Dos Palmas Island Resort at Honda Bay in Palawan province, 375 miles southwest of Manila, police said.

About 20 unidentified men in ski masks took 17 guests and four resort staffers captive at gunpoint and fled aboard a motorboat, military officials said. The guests were believed to include at least two Americans and 13 ethnic Chinese Filipinos, and at least one was a child.

"We are now scouring the islands," Philippine military chief Dimedio Villanueva said before heading to Palawan Island to head rescue efforts. He said the abducted guests included an American couple who had an address in the Manila area. He would not release their names.

"Obviously we'll be very concerned if there were Americans among those abducted," said a U.S. Embassy spokesman, Michael Anderson. He said embassy officials heard unconfirmed reports that up to three Americans may have been abducted.

U.S. security personnel were to hold an emergency meeting, he said.

Capt. Djo Jalandoni of the military's western commands said the abductors traveling south from the resort and that they might have been headed to Jolo Island, where the Islamic rebel group Abu Sayyaf is based.

"We have out helicopters and airplanes with reconnaissance capabilities. We also have patrol boats going in that direction to cut them off, he said.

Villanueva would not comment on speculation that Abu Sayyaf was responsible for the abduction.

Palawan police Chief Superintendent Jacinto Dino said navy ships were being deployed to southern Palawan after a fisherman said he saw the abductors and their hostages aboard a boat heading the Mindanao region.

"There were armed men in ski masks surrounding a group of people. I waved at them but they did not respond," the fisherman, Salvador Aton, told a radio station.

Dino said navy ships in the area were ordered to be on the lookout and possibly block the abductors.

A staffer at the 50-acre island resort, contacted by telephone by The Associated Press, refused to comment on the incident but said an investigation was under way. She said police and troops had secured the resort and a head count of guests were being done.

The resort, opened in 1998, has about 50 hotel rooms and seaside cottages and offers diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, kayaking and sightseeing tours.

On Thursday, armed men abducted a ferry with 42 people on board elsewhere in the southern Philippines, later releasing the passengers but keeping four sailors in apparent revenge against a local militia, the military said. Police said the abductors were likely members of Abu Sayyaf, which took foreign tourists hostage last year. The group says it is fighting to carve a separate Islamic state out of the area.

On Tuesday, dozens of gunmen armed with assault rifles and rocket launchers tried to storm a tourist resort in Mindanao. Security guards fought them off, but two resort workers were killed and three security guards were injured. Investigators originally suspected Abu Sayyaf, but Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon later said the gunmen were pirates trying to capture a speedboat.

A little more than a year ago, the Abu Sayyaf raided a Malaysian tourist resort and took 10 foreign tourists hostage. They also took other hostages in a series of incidents in the southern Philippines. All the hostages have since been freed including American Jeffrey Schilling some reportedly for large ransoms.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered "all-out war" on Abu Sayyaf in early April, but military officials said it has regrouped in the last two weeks. --ABC



May 27, 2001, Manila Bulletin, 13 killed in Davao beach resort, Basilan clashes.

ZAMBOANGA CITY Seven people died as troops clashed with gunmen who raided a southern resort four days ago, with the gang's hostages escaping during the battle, a military official said yesterday.

In Isabela City, six people, including the eight-year-old grand niece of Basilan Rep. Abdulgani "Gerry" Salapuddin, were killed and four others were wounded when policemen and soldiers traded shots near the capitol building in Isabela City, Basilan at about 5 p.m. last Friday, it was learned yesterday.

Meanwhile, another gang of suspected Muslim rebels robbed a ferry and took four passengers hostage, also in the southern Philippines, a police official said.

The gunmen who raided one of the country's top tourist resorts on Tuesday encountered pursuing troops on Friday, resulting in the death of five raiders and two soldiers, military spokesman Lt. Col. Danilo Servando said.

Three hostages still held by the gunmen - villagers seized in the raid on Samal island's Pearl Farm resort for use as human shields - managed to escape during the fighting around Malita town, Servando added.

Many of the other raiders, who are though to be Muslim rebels, were also wounded in the fighting.

Meanwhile, gunmen police identified as Abu Sayyaf guerrillas attacked a ferry off the waters of the southern island of Basilan on Thursday, robbing the passengers and taking four of them as hostages.

The gunmen, aboard five small motorboats, surrounded the ferry, robbed about 30 passengers - including of their shoes and clothes - and took them to Patah island, south of Basilan.

There they releasing all but four a day later, provincial police chief Candido Casimiro said.

The remaining hostages were being used as human shields against police pursuit, he said.

The Abu Sayyaf gained international notoriety in April last year when they raided a Malaysian resort and took 21 foreign and local hostages to a Philippine island.

They released many of their captives in exchange for hefty ransoms.

The government later launched a military assault on the Abu Sayyaf, but one hostage from their kidnapping spree last year, Filipino diving instructor Roland Ullah, remains in their hands.

Some officials have said the armed men who raided the resort in motorboats could have also been members of the Abu Sayyaf, although others have said the guerrillas are based too far away and that another rebel group may be involved.

Isabela

ISABELA CITY, Basilan - Six people, including the eight-year-old grand niece of Basilan Rep. Abdulgani "Gerry" Salapuddin, were killed and four others were wounded when policemen and soldiers traded shots near the capitol building here at about 5 p.m. last Friday, it was learned yesterday.

Killed were Haifa Salapuddin, grade three student and the grand niece of the lawmaker; Esteban Gaan an employee of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) provincial office; Teng Sakam, a bystander; SPO1 Yusop Hussein of the 909th Police Provincial Group (PMG); PFC Abdulasi Asamula, a Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) integree; and PO1 Abdulhasan Ubara, who died in a hospital in Zamboanga City yesterday morning.

The wounded included Randi Lim, Vilma Asmawil and Munira Hansad, all with the office of Rep. Salapuddin.

Jamil, driver of a multi-cab which the soldiers sprayed with bullets, recounted that he and seven other people were on their way to the city public market when the incident took place.

He said while they were approaching the Aguada bridge a few meters from the provincial capitol building, he saw Asamula standing beside the Aguada Bridge "as if waiting for someone to pass."

"When a motorcycle driven by Gaan approached the area, the soldier (Asamula) shot him, killing him instantly," he said. "He then pointed to us his Armalite rifle and sprayed us with bullets, killing the grand niece of the congressman on the spot."

The driver said SPO1 Hussein, who was standing near the area, immediately responded and shot the soldier, killing him instantly.

Another soldier shot the policeman, killing him also.

Jamil said he heard a number of shots fired towards their direction.

The multi-cab was riddled with bullet holes and its windshield shattered to pieces.

On its flooring and ceilings were scattered pieces of the brain of the child, and blood stains of her and other passenger victims.

As this developed, Rep. Salapuddin asked the military and police to carefully investigate the incident and bring to the bar of justice the culprit.

Salapuddin declined to confirm if the shooting incident has anything to do with the ongoing counting of votes in the provincial capitol.

The mere fact that two of the victims were an employee of the Comelec here and his niece, he said, could mean that the shooting was politically motivated.

Salapuddin's proclamation was set at the same time when the incident occurred.



May 27, 2001, BBC News, Analysis: Philippines kidnapping 'industry', by John Maclean in Manila,
15:28 GMT 16:28 UK

Kidnapping for ransom is so common here that the Philippines has often been described as the kidnapping capital of the world.

Often the abductions are carried out by armed men who say they are Muslim separatist rebels.

For more than three decades, guerrillas belonging to the Muslim minority have been fighting for independence for their homeland in the south of this predominantly Christian country.

But when such groups embark on a kidnapping spree their motives are not necessarily political.

A lucrative business

The government is trying to revive peace talks with the main Muslim separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, or MILF.

Although the authorities have occasionally accused the MILF of carrying out the abductions, the group says it never uses such tactics.

In contrast, a much smaller armed group, the Abu Sayyaf, makes an industry out of kidnapping.

Last year it abducted dozens of Filipinos and foreigners and collected millions of dollars of ransom.

The Abu Sayyaf say that it too is fighting for Muslim independence but although many of its members are former guerrillas there is very little that is political in any of their escapades.

When the government describes it simply a gang of bandits, its description is quite accurate.--BBC



May 27, 2001, Reuters / ABS-CBN, Philippines Gunmen Seize 20 Hostages from Tourist Resort on Palawan Island,

Gunmen have raided a tourist resort on the southern Philippine island of Palawan seizing 20 people, including three American tourists.

The chairman of the Philippine's Security Council says the kidnappers have been spotted in a boat with the hostages off the southern coast of Palawan near Malaysia.
Police said about 20 men, armed with assault rifles, carried out Sunday's (May 27) raid at about 5 am (2100 GMT Saturday) on Dos Palmas resort on Arrecifi island, near the Palawan provincial capital of Puerto Princessa.

On arriving at the resort, about 600 kilometres (375 miles) southwest of Manila, the raiders casually walked to a pavilion where several staff members were working and held them at gunpoint, resort guards said.

Others went to cottages built on stilts over the water and grabbed guests who were sleeping inside.

Three Americans, thirteen domestic tourists, including an eight-year-old boy, and four resort guards and staff were abducted.

Police identified the three Americans as Martin Burnham and his wife, Gracia, both missionaries of the congregation New Tribes Mission.

They have been working with cultural minorities in the Philippines for 15 years and were vacationing at the resort.

The other American, a tourist, was vacationing at the resort with his Filipina girlfriend.

The raiders took them both.

The raiders were also apparently hungry because refrigerators had been ransacked, and some of them went to the resort kitchen to forage for more food, officials said.

Witnesses said many of the 10 women tourists who were among the hostages taken were in tears as their captors forced them at gunpoint into a motorboat that took them to an unknown destination.

Hours after the attack on Dos Palmas resort, a motorboat believed to be carrying the gunmen and their hostages was spotted by military aircraft near the maritime border with Malaysia, said national security adviser Roilo Golez.

"The armed forces have already dispatched a hot pursuit team and the latest is that a vessel of that description, suspected to be the vessel used in the hostage-taking, has been sighted near Buksug Island near the southern tip of Palawan. The surveillance was done by the Philippine Airforce and the Navy has already dispatched ships to intercept this vessel...we don't know but if ransom is their motive we want to emphasise that the policy of the Arroyo administration is no ransom and no negotiation with armed bandits", Golez said.

Golez could not confirm whether the kidnappers were members of the fundamentalist Abu Sayyaf rebel force, a separatist group whose avowed goal is to set up an Islamic state in the south of the mainly Roman Catholic country.

The Abu Sayyaf last year seized more than 40 foreigners and Filipinos from two tourist resorts in nearby Malaysia and from Jolo island in the southern Philippines.
Many of the victims were released by the Abu Sayyaf after big ransoms were paid.

Some were rescued by soldiers and others escaped.

One Filipino resort worker kidnapped last year is still held.

Police reports said the raiders were talking in Tausog, a dialect usually spoken by Muslims on Jolo island, where the Abu Sayyaf rebels operate.

Police said the raiders left in the two boats with their victims.

One of the boats was seen speeding off to the northeast, in the direction of other tourist resorts in the area.

All other tourist resorts on Palawan have been put on alert and Navy ships as well air force helicopters had stepped up security around the island, the military said.
ABS-CBN
Reference 5615/01

Tape 7218

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Source REUTERS/ABS CBN

WORLD 5 27 MAY 2001 EDIT: 716

Restrictions Restrictions on certain uses may apply, and may vary from those listed.
PART NO ACCESS PHILIPPINES

Time code 15.59.43 - 16.01.54

Date original MAY 27, 2001+ FILE

Duration 2.10

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Subset Reuters Television

Location ARRECIF ISLAND, PALAWAN/ MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Sound NATURAL WITH ENGLISH SPEECH

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ARRECIFI ISLAND, PALAWAN , PHILIPPINES (FILE) (ABS CBN - NO ACCESS PHILIPPINES)
1.

GVS: WIDE OF DOS PALMAS RESORT/ TOURISTS AT RESORT/ PEOPLE GETTING KEYS/ BOATS OFF COAST OF RESORT/ PAN ACROSS RESORT/ WIDE OF LOBBY AREA/ LONG SHOT OF RESORT/ POOL (11 SHOTS)

0.28

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (MAY 27, 2001) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

2.

CU: SOUNDBITE (English) NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL CHAIRMAN ROILO GOLEZ SAYING: "At about 0520 this morning a group of armed men went to the resort Dos Palmas in Honda bay near Puerto Princessa and took twenty hostages 2 Americans, one Spanish, 12 Philipino-Chinese and took them away on a motorised Banca. The armed forces have already dispatched a hot pursuit team and the latest is that a vessel of that description, suspected to be the vessel used in the hostage-taking, has been sighted near Buksug Island near the southern tip of Palawan. The surveillance was done by the Philippine Airforce and the Navy has already dispatched ships to intercept this vessel... we don't know but if ransom is their motive we want to emphasise that the policy of the Arroyo administration is no ransom and no negotiation with armed bandits" (Question - Are they Abu Sayyaf?) "We have no idea, we don't want to speculate, we will find out."

2.01

ARRECIFI ISLAND, PALAWAN , PHILIPPINES (FILE) (ABS CBN - NO ACCESS PHILIPPINES)

3.

GV/PAN: PAN ACROSS GOLF COURSE AT RESORT/ PEOPLE PADDLING KAYAKS/ WIDE SHOT OF WATER (2 SHOTS)



May 28, 2001, BBC News, Assault ordered on Philippine kidnappers,



Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has ordered a military assault on Abu Sayyaf rebels holding 20 hostages abducted from a tourist resort in the south of the country.

The government also said no ransom would be paid, and that the only kind of negotiation would be for the unconditional release of the hostages.

President Arroyo vowed to destroy the Abu Sayyaf and declared she would not let up until "you are wiped out or you surrender".

"I will finish what you started. Force against force. Arms against arms," Mrs Arroyo said.

"This is what the challenge you hurled against me calls for. I will oblige you."

The government had earlier refused to bargain with the Abu Sayyaf Muslim separatist hostage-takers and had begun an operation to find the hostages, sending troops down to a remote southern island after gunmen were reportedly spotted there.

But one hostage - an American missionary - has appealed to the government on local radio to negotiate for his release.

"Hi, I am Mr Martin Burnham, a US citizen. I am a missionary. I am with my wife (Gracia), we are in the custody of the Abu Sayyaf," he said in a telephone interview.

"I am safe and unharmed. We would like to appeal for a safe negotiation."

Mr Burnham's wife and another US citizen were among the group seized from the Dos Palmas resort off the western Philippine island of Palawan on Sunday.

Reward

The Philippine Government is also offering a reward of just under US $2m for information leading to the arrest of leaders and members of the group that carried out the kidnapping.

A government spokesman said $100,000 would be given to anyone who provided information leading to the capture of Abu Sayyaf leaders and $20,000 to anyone who helped capture lower-ranking members of the group.

The Abu Sayyaf were behind a series of high-profile kidnappings of foreign tourists last year.

The hostages were eventually released after mediation by a Libyan representative and the reported payment of a large ransom.

Sighting reported

A military spokesman said the mayor of the island town of Mapun, in the south-western Tawi-Tawi archipelago, had alerted the authorities about sighting the gunmen.

The rebels have reportedly split the hostages into three groups and taken the groups to different places.

Most of those seized from Palawan were ethnic Chinese Filipino tourists, while the other American hostage was Guillermo Sobero from California.

The gunmen, who arrived on two boats, also took away four resort staff.

The Burnhams, missionaries from the state of Kansas, were celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary at the Dos Palmas resort.

The US State Department issued a statement urging Americans to be careful when travelling in the Philippines and to avoid certain islands.

Kidnapping common

BBC South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head says kidnapping is a common crime in the Philippines, especially among the Islamic separatist rebels in the south.

But he says the motives vary, often mixing political objectives with demands for large ransoms.

Police said all other tourist resorts on Palawan had been put on alert and navy ships had stepped up security around the island.

Armed forces chief Diomedio Villanueva has gone to the region to supervise the military response to the kidnapping.

Mrs Arroyo has offered to make peace with the largest Muslim group in the south, but she has ruled out any deal with Abu Sayyaf.



May 28, 2001, Reuters, Muslim rebels take blame for kidnap of 20 in Philippines,

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines (Reuters) - Muslim rebels on Monday claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of three Americans and 17 Filipinos from a southern Philippine resort and put one of the Americans on radio to back their claim.

"We are admitting it, we are the ones who did it," Abu Sabaya, a spokesman for the Abu Sayyaf rebels, told the DXRV radio station in a telephone call.

He said the 20 hostages had been divided into two groups and were on Basilan and Jolo, two neighbouring islands in the south where the guerrilla group has set up jungle camps.

The Abu Sayyaf gained notoriety last year for abducting some 40 people, including several Western tourists from a Malaysian resort, and receiving ransoms of up to $1 million for many of them.

The latest victims were kidnapped around dawn on Sunday from the Dos Palmas island resort, some 480 km (300 miles) to the northwest across the Sulu Sea, and the group has evaded a dragnet spread by the Philippine navy and air force.

Martin Burnham, a 41-year-old missionary and one of the three Americans among the hostages, also spoke to the radio station and said: "Hi, I am Mr Martin Burnham, a U.S. citizen. I am a missionary. I am with my wife, we are in the custody of the Abu Sayyaf under Khadafy Janjalani.

"We are safe, our needs are being met. We would like to appeal to all for a reasonable and safe negotiation."

Janjalani heads one of the factions of the Abu Sayyaf. His followers also held American Jeffrey Schilling for eight months before the man was freed in April when a military patrol chanced upon the rebels on Jolo and the guerrillas fled leaving the captive behind.

Earlier, the rebels had threatened to execute Schilling, a convert to Islam, and present his head to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on her birthday on April 5.

NO RANSOM DEMAND YET

Sabaya made no ransom demands on Monday, but the group had asked for $2 million for Schilling.

He also said: "Let's not compare this with Jeffrey. Jeffrey was a Muslim, that's why we had second thoughts about harming him. Now we have three Americans, let's not embarrass each other."

Burnham, his wife Gracia and 39-year-old Guillermo Sobero are the three Americans kidnapped. The Burnhams, from Wichita, Kansas, have been based in the Philippines with the New Tribes Mission for about 15 years. They were in Dos Palmas to celebrate their 18th wedding anniversary.

Sobero, a 39-year-old tourist from Corona, California, was at the resort with a Filipina girlfriend for a diving holiday and to celebrate his 40th birthday on Tuesday.

The other victims include 13 Filipino tourists, including an eight-year-old boy, and four resort workers.

Sabaya, who said he had personally led the raid on the resort, also put one of the Filipino hostages on the telephone line.

"We are in the good hands of the Abu Sayyaf, under the leadership of Khadafy Janjalani," said the man, travel journalist Raul Recio. "I hope the government will not think of anything rash in their rescue effort."

Government officials said there would be no change in their current policy of not paying ransom.

"No negotiations, no ransom," said National Security Adviser Roilo Golez in a television interview.

The latest kidnapping drove down local financial markets on Monday. The main stock market index closed over one percent down at 1,395 points while the peso fell to a low of 50.96 to the dollar from Friday's 50.505 close before recovering marginally.

Military spokesman Colonel Danilo Servando said troops and crack Ranger soldiers had been readied for an operation but refused to give further details.

The Abu Sayyaf, with an estimated force of about 1,000 men, is one of two groups demanding a Muslim homeland in the southern Philippines. But it does little to fight for its professed goals and appears to concentrate on kidnap for ransom.

Philippine officials usually call them a group of bandits but admit they are difficult to put down because of their intimate knowledge of hills in the remote southern islands and renowned seamanship.

The kidnapping has angered President Arroyo, who has been trying to woo foreign investors back in an effort to revive a sluggish economy dragged down by continuing concerns about political stability.

"The president's instruction is to go all out, finish once and for all," armed forces spokesman General Edilberto Adan said on local radio.

"But one thing we are looking at (is) the safety of the hostages. That is paramount," Adan added. --Reuters



May 28, 2001, Bernama, Philippines Rules Out Paying Ransom, by Al Labita Jr,
20:48PM

MANILA, May 28 (Bernama) -- The Philippines is willing to negotiate with the kidnappers of three Americans and 17 Filipinos but will not yield to any ransom demand, officials said on Monday.

"We will try to talk to them to release the hostages," presidential spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao said, referring to the suspected Muslim kidnappers.

The abductors -- reportedly belonging to the Abu Sayyaf rebel group -- have neither sent word for any negotiation nor ransom notes to the Philippine government.

The hostages were seized on Sunday from an upscale resort islet off Palawan province and taken in three high-speed boats towards Tawi-Tawi, 1,000km south of Manila.

Tiglao said the gunmen's boats were moving at a top speed of 40 knots, much faster than the Philippine navy vessels.

"The biggest problem really is the Philippine navy has very few patrol boats. There are plans to increase the number of patrol boats," he said.

Tiglao said President Gloria Arroyo was forming a special task force composed of civilian and military officials to oversee the security of all the country's resort areas.

Arroyo also approved a one million pesos (RM100,000) reward for information leading to the location and arrest of the kidnappers.

National Security Adviser Roilo Golez said the government is doing "all it can" to rescue the hostages.

He said the military had launched air, sea and land search operations.

Meanwhile, the United States embassy on Monday issued a travel advisory urging Americans to avoid travelling to southern and western Mindanao in the wake of the kidnapping.

It said the incident made "travel unsafe in certain areas in the Philippines" and called on Americans residing or touring the Philippines "to exercise extreme caution".

It warned that the Abu Sayyaf group "may take additional actions against US citizens and other foreigners". -- BERNAMA



May 28, 2001, Bernama, Palawan Abduction - Fear Not, Chong Tells Sabahans,
19:38PM

KOTA KINABALU, May 28 (Bernama) -- Chief Minister Datuk Chong Kah Kiat on Monday assured Sabahans that security is more than adequate to deal with any eventuality in the wake of yesterday's kidnapping of 20 people from a neighbouring tourist resort in southern Philippines.

Advising people in the state not to be unduly worried over the incident, he said: "Absolutely there should be no fear...the security forces are intact and more than adequate to detect any possible inflow (of armed intruders)."

Chong, who is state security committee chairman, was reacting to reports of the pre-dawn abduction which made headlines in all the local dailies in Sabah. -- BERNAMA



May 28, 2001, AP International, Muslim Extremists Claim Kidnappings, by Paul Alexander, Associated Press Writer

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- A Muslim extremist group claimed responsibility Monday for abducting 20 people, including three Americans, from a luxury resort and issued a veiled threat to their safety.

One of the Americans, Martin Burnham, went on the radio to offer reassurances to relatives, in the first contact since armed gunmen snatched the tourists in a daring raid early Sunday morning.

"I, along with my wife Gracia, are in the custody of the Abu Sayyaf," Burnham, originally from Kansas, said on radio RMN, apparently speaking by satellite phone. "We are safe and we are appealing for a peaceful negotiations. They are treating us well."

Abu Sabaya, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf separatists -- who last year kidnapped another group of foreign tourists -- told the radio that the hostages had been divided into two groups and taken to different islands in Basilan and Sulu provinces.

"We have the three Americans," said Sabaya, adding that the Americans had been taken to Basilan province and were under his supervision. "If you want to negotiate, it's up to you, we're not pushing for it."

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo responded by vowing to use police and the armed forces to wipe out the Abu Sayyaf, ruling out any ransom and offering up to $2 million in rewards for information leading to the capture of those responsible for Sunday's assault.

"I am ready to do everything to crush the bandits, to allow the hostages to safely return to their families and to bring back peace," a somber but determined-looking Arroyo said in a nationally televised address Monday night.

Arroyo ordered "all-out war" on Abu Sayyaf in early April, but military officials said the separatist organization has regrouped in the last two weeks. Abu Sayyaf is the smaller and more radical of two rebel movements that say they are fighting for an Islamic state in the southern Mindanao region.

Sabaya made no specific demands but issued what appeared to be a threat to harm the captives.

Referring to Jeffrey Schilling, a Muslim convert from Oakland, Calif., who was held by Abu Sayyaf for eight months before the military freed him last month, Sabaya said: ''What I can say is we should not compare Jeffrey because Jeffrey is a Muslim, so we hesitated to hurt him. Now, we have three Americans. It is hard for us to be shamed.''

Under cover of darkness, the kidnappers were able to elude an air and sea search that the Philippine military launched quickly after the raid on the Dos Palmas Island Resort off Palawan province. Aside from the Americans, 13 Philippine tourists and four Philippine staffers were taken.

Search teams found the abandoned boat that the gunmen used in the raid. Spotter planes sighted the kidnappers and their captives around dusk Sunday between the resort and the Sulu and Basilan provinces. But the boats disappeared in the darkness and have not been seen since.

Sulu province -- about 300 miles southwest of the resort across the Sulu Sea -- includes Jolo Island, where Abu Sayyaf held 10 foreign tourists for months last year after snatching them from a Malaysian resort. Most of those hostages were released for large ransoms, reportedly paid by Libya.

Armed forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Edilberto Adan vowed that the military will track down the captors and their victims.

"There will be no negotiations," Adan said. '"Once we pinpoint their area, we will cordon it, then launch an assault, but with the safety of the hostages in consideration."

Sunday's raid was swift and well organized. Dressed in military uniforms to fool security guards, the men ransacked the resort's white cottages on stilts in the pristine blue waters and rounding up terrified guests and resort workers.

The Burnhams are missionaries from Wichita, Kan., who have lived in the Philippines since 1986 and have been working for the New Tribes Mission of Sanford, Fla.

The third American was identified as Guillermo Sobero, of Corona, Calif., who was to mark his 40th birthday on Tuesday.


May 31, 2001, [Cover date: June 7] FEER, [The Far Eastern Economic Review] Regional Briefing,

REGIONAL BRIEFING: THIS WEEK

Philippines Plunged Into New Hostage Crisis Muslim separatists threatened to kill 20 hostages --17 Filipinos and three United States citizens--seized on May 27 from a luxury island resort if the military mounted a rescue effort. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said her government was at war with the Abu Sayyaf guerrilla group and vowed to crush it. She said there would be no ransoms and offered a $2 million bounty for the capture of Abu Sayyaf leaders. The hostages, grabbed from a resort off the southern island of Palawan, have reportedly been split into two groups and moved to islands further south. Abu Sayyaf embarrassed the government last year with a series of abductions, including those of several tourists who were later rescued, escaped or released for ransom.



May 28, 2001, The Independent (London, England), Gunmen Take Tourists Hostage in Philippines by Richard Lloyd Parry,

THE PHILIPPINES government faces another protracted and damaging foreign hostage crisis after 20 people - including three Americans - were snatched by masked gunmen from a luxury holiday resort in the south of the country.

Military ships and planes from both the Philippines and Malaysia were hunting for the captives last night, after the dawn raid on the island of Palawan, which lies between the two countries in the South China Sea.

The kidnappers, who escaped with the captives in a speedboat, are apparently members of Abu Sayyaf, the extremist Muslim group which received millions of dollars in ransom after kidnapping a group of foreign tourists and Filipinos from a Malaysian diving resort a year ago.

"Here we are in a hostage situation again, mounting the same type of operation that we did last year," General Edilberto Adan, a military spokesman, said wearily. "We are still in the early stages. The kidnappers have not reached their final destination. We hope they will not be able to reach that because it will make things harder."

A few hours after the attack, the Philippines air force spotted a boat believed to be carrying the kidnappers close to the maritime border with Malaysia, but apparently lost track of it by nightfall. The president of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, said immediately that no ransom would be paid this time, and sent her military chief of staff, General Diomedio Villanueva, to take charge of the operation.

"The President has given a very firm instruction that no negotiations for ransom will be made," General Adan said. "It would only serve to whet the appetites of these terrorists. No motive has been mentioned but it's possible that these foreign tourists will be held for some time."

The raid took place at about 5am yesterday at Dos Palmas, a luxury resort two hours by boat from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

It all happened in the space of a quarter of an hour yesterday. Witnesses described how the gunmen landed, burst into the resort's waterfront cottages and dragged out terrified guests. There were more than 20 raiders, who were wearing ski masks and carrying automatic rifles and a machine gun.

"The women were all crying. One of them was clinging to a small boy, her son," said Brando Cervantes, a local fisherman. "Some of the women were wearing only their sleeping clothes. The males were silent. They just obeyed whatever the gunmen told them to do." The gunmen had forced Mr Cervantes to guide them to the resort and cut the boat's engines before silently floating up to the resort's jetty. They quickly disarmed two security guards and took their radios, before bursting into seven of the resort's cottages, which are built on stilts over the water.

"Steel cabinets were forced open, glasses lay shattered on the floor," Police Inspector Rodolfo Amurao said.

"The personal possessions of the hostages were scattered around. Clothes were strewn everywhere. They had kicked the doors open to get their hostages. Their shoe prints were on the doors." The kidnappers even raided the cottage refrigerators and the resort's kitchen in search of food.

According to staff at the resort, the raiders spoke Tausug, a language spoken on Jolo island in the far south-west of the Philippines, where the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) is based.

The 20 captives included four workers at the resort, 13 ethnic Chinese Filipino tourists and three foreigners, believed to be Americans - Guillermo Sobrero, who was there with his Filipina girlfriend, and a married couple, Martin and Gracia Burnham, who worked as missionaries for the evangelical New Tribes Mission.

Kidnapping for ransom is a common way of making a living in the Philippines, especially in the southern region of Mindanao, where various Muslim groups have been fighting for decades for independence from the Christian-dominated government in Manila.

But two things make this incident especially serious: the apparent involvement of the Abu Sayyaf Group and the capture of American citizens. Abu Sayyaf were paid as much as $25m (pounds 18m) for the release of more than a dozen foreign tourists last year - the last one was freed by the Philippine army only last month. Predictably, such success has only encouraged the group: yesterday's attack was the third time in five days that suspected Abu Sayyaf members have been involved in violent attacks.

Last Tuesday, security guards at another luxury resort in Mindanao successfully fought off raiders armed with grenade launchers, who skirmished with pursuing military units over the next few days. Two days later, 42 people on a passenger ferry were hijacked near the Mindanao island of Basilan, where the ASG also has a base. All but four were later released. The group seems to have been taking advantage of the Philippines' ongoing election count, which is stretching the resources of the police and armed forces.

But in capturing three Americans, Abu Sayyaf - if it is them - has hit the jackpot. The only other American to be taken hostage by the group was Jeffrey Schilling, a black American Muslim who was held after visiting the group of his own accord, and whose case attracted little attention or sympathy from Washington or the media. The case of the Burnhams will be harder to ignore.

Among Filipino Christians, the ASG are widely seen as bandits, but despite its hunger for ransoms the group does espouse a militant version of Islam. The group's late founder, Khaddafy Janjalani, studied in Libya and the group may have been funded by Colonel Gaddafi and the wealthy international terrorist Osama bin Laden.

So far all its foreign victims have survived but the group has frequently killed Filipino captives, including priests, and the Burnhams may be in danger because of their faith. After its humiliation last year, Manila will be more uncompromising and is likely to attack the kidnappers as soon as they are found.

ON A MISSION FROM GOD

THE NEW Tribes Mission (NTM) - for which two of the captured Americans, Martin and Gracia Burnham, were working - was founded in 1942 to evangelise people in the remotest parts of the world, "reaching new tribes until the last tribe has been reached", as the group's slogan has it. More than 3,000 NTM missionaries operate all over the world.

In Papua New Guinea, the group is criticised for destroying rich native cultures, by promising "the unending life of the saved with the Lord, and the unending punishment of the unsaved."

But the missionaries have taken earthly punishment themselves. In 1993 three were kidnapped by rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. A multi-million dollar ransom was demanded and refused, and since then nothing has been heard of them.

Earlier this year, there were reports that they had been shot and killed two years ago, but these are being denied by the organisation.



May 28, 2001, The Birmingham Post (England) Filipino kidnappers flee with US tourists.

The military launched an air and sea search yesterday after masked gunmen raided a Philippines resort at dawn and fled by boat with 20 hostages, including three American tourists.

The kidnappers headed south, in the direction of either islands that are home to Muslim extremists who took foreign hostages last year or Malaysia.

Several hours later, military chief Diomedio Villanueva said the group had apparently been tracked down.

But as darkness fell, search planes were recalled for the night and the government would not say if it knew for certain where the group was. The sea search was continuing.

There were concerns about the hostages' safety if the hunt climaxed in a showdown, said Rigoberto Tiglao, spokesman for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

'The president condemns this dastardly criminal act of desperate, ruthless bandits,' said Mr Tiglao.

Vowing no negotiations or ransom, he said the attackers seemed to have taken advantage of the widespread deployment of police and troops to stem violence following the May 14 elections.

Final results have not been released as vote totals slowly filter in from far-flung parts of the country.

The kidnappers struck at the Dos Palmas island resort at Honda Bay in Palawan province, about 375 miles south-west of Manila.

Military officials said two dozen men in ski masks held guests, including 13 Chinese Filipinos and at least one child, and resort staff at gunpoint for about 15 minutes.

Two of the Americans were identified as Martin and Gracia Burnham, missionaries from Wichita, Kansas, who have lived in the Philippines since around 1986, said Tim Grossman, of the New Tribes Mission.

The other American was listed in the resort guestbook as Guillermo Sobero.


May 28, 2001, The Washington Post , Gunmen Seize Tourists At Philippine Resort, by Rajiv Chandrasekaran,

Gunmen wearing ski masks stormed a posh Philippine beach resort this morning and seized about 20 tourists, including three Americans, before fleeing by speedboat toward several islands that are home to Muslim extremists who have previously kidnapped foreign vacationers.

Philippine military officials, who mounted a massive search-and- rescue operation, said they thought they had spotted the boat. But as night fell, search aircraft were called back to their bases, although several navy ships were continuing the hunt and were reported to be readying a blockade.

Government officials said they believed they knew who the kidnappers were, but refused to identify them. Analysts have focused their speculation on the Abu Sayyaf, Islamic separatist rebels who raided a Malaysian diving resort in April 2000 and took 21 hostages. The guerrillas held the captives -- 10 of them foreigners -- for months on a remote island before freeing them in exchange for multimillion-dollar ransom payments. The group subsequently captured several journalists and a U.S. man, who was released only last month after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered "all-out war" on the guerrillas.

Today's incident in the province of Palawan has the possibility of turning into a major embarrassment for the Philippines, which had hoped to rehabilitate its tourism industry after the Abu Sayyaf kidnappings. The U.S. Embassy in Manila, the Philippine capital, urged Americans traveling in the country to "review their security arrangements."

On Tuesday, dozens of gunmen tried to storm a tourist resort and killed two workers. Investigators said the perpetrators were pirates trying to steal a speedboat.

Two of the Americans were identified by the Associated Press as Martin and Gracia Burnham, Protestant missionaries from Wichita, Kan. They have lived in the Philippines since 1986 and have been working for the New Tribes Mission, according to the AP. The other American was listed in the resort guest book as Guillermo Sobero, who turns 40 on Tuesday, the AP reported.

The kidnappings took place at the Dos Palmas resort at Honda Bay in Palawan, about 375 miles southwest of Manila. The gunmen raided the resort at about 5 a.m., holding the guards at gunpoint while they entered the guest cottages and rounded up the occupants, witnesses said. After herding the group to the resort's entrance, the captors forced the guests onto a boat. The raid took about 15 minutes.

Military officials and analysts say the Abu Sayyaf rebels have regrouped in recent weeks. A band of Abu Sayyaf fighters is believed to have been responsible for abducting a ferry carrying 42 people on Thursday. The passengers were released, but four sailors are still being held.




May 28, 2001, The Herald News - Joliet (IL) Hostages Seized

The Philippine military took to the air and sea in search of two dozen gunmen who raided a resort wearing ski masks Sunday and then fled by boat with about 20 hostages, including three Americans. Two of the Americans were identified as Martin and Gracia Burnham, missionaries from Wichita, Kan., who have lived in the Philippines since 1986. The other American taken from the Dos Palmas Island Resort was identified as Guillermo Sobero, of Corona, Calif.




May 28, 2001, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Hunt is on for Abductors of 3 Americans, Others,

Byline: P-I news services

PHILIPPINES -- The military took to the air and sea in search of two dozen gunmen who raided an upscale resort yesterday and then fled by boat with about 20 hostages, including three American tourists.

As darkness fell, the airplanes were recalled and fears were growing of a repeat of a prolonged hostage crisis last year that battered the Philippines' international image.

After storming the Dos Palmas Island Resort at dawn, the kidnappers headed south, either toward islands that are home to Muslim extremists who seized foreigners 13 months ago or toward Malaysia, which offered the Philippines its cooperation in the matter.

Military chief of staff, Diomedio Villanueva, said officials believed they knew who the kidnappers are, but he would not identify them.

The Americans were identified as Martin and Gracia Burnham, missionaries from Wichita, Kan., and Guillermo Sobero of Corona, Calif.

Copters and tanks used in assault on rebels



May 28, 2001, The Cincinnati Post / AP, Hostage Crisis Grips Philippines Three Americans Among Captured,
Byline: Associated Press

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine military took to the air and sea in search of two dozen gunmen who raided an upscale resort wearing ski masks Sunday and then fled by boat with about 20 hostages, including three American tourists.

As darkness fell, the airplanes were recalled and fears were growing of a repeat of the prolonged hostage crisis last year that received worldwide attention and battered the Philippines' international image.

After storming the Dos Palmas Island Resort at dawn, the kidnappers headed south, either toward islands that are home to Muslim extremists who seized foreigners 13 months ago or toward Malaysia, which offered the Philippines its cooperation.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo dispatched her military chief of staff, Diomedio Villanueva, to direct the search-and-rescue effort from Palawan Island, a short boat ride from the resort, and ships and planes fanned out over the Mindanao Sea.

Villanueva said officials believed they knew who the kidnappers were, but he would not identify them.

Speculation has focused on Abu Sayyaf, the Islamic rebel group that raided a Malaysian tourist resort and took 10 foreign tourists hostage on April 23, 2000. All those hostages have since been freed, some reportedly for large ransoms paid by Libya.

Arroyo ordered "all-out war" on Abu Sayyaf in early April, but military officials said the separatist organization has regrouped in the last two weeks. Still, Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon tried to downplay suggestions that the Abu Sayyaf was responsible for Sunday's raid.

There were concerns for the hostages' safety if a showdown developed, said Arroyo's spokesman, Rigoberto Tiglao. He vowed there would be no negotiations or ransom.

The kidnappings took place at the Dos Palmas resort at Honda Bay in Palawan province, about 375 miles southwest of Manila.

Military officials said two dozen men in ski masks took guests and resort staffers at gunpoint in a raid that lasted about 15 minutes.



May 28, 2001, Charleston Daily Mail /The Associated Press, Raid came as a surprise:; Americans among those kidnapped at luxury resort,

ARRECIFFE ISLAND, Philippines - The swift raid hardly disturbed the dawn quiet at the luxury resort: only the hum of the approaching boat, the crash of a toppled flowerpot as the attackers climbed the dock, the clatter of guns as guards put up their hands. Within a half-hour, 20 captives were whisked away, starting another Philippine hostage saga.

Witnesses said surprise and efficiency were the hallmarks of Sunday's raid on the plush Dos Palmas Tourist Resort off Palawan Island.

"I didn't even think there was a problem," said George Cervencia, a resort pilot who vaguely recalls awakening to some stirrings and glancing toward the noise. "I thought it was a visit from some soldiers."

The Muslim separatist Abu Sayyaf movement today claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and said it had eluded a massive cordon to reach two islands in the southern Philippines where they held their captives, including three Americans.

The 24 sea-borne raiders, disguised as troops, drifted to the resort's dock to a welcome by two unsuspecting guards. Other armed security men, watching from a treetop lookout 200 yards away, saw nothing unusual as the raiders surreptitiously pointed rifles and whispered threats, evoking the guards' silent surrender.

The men swiftly moved into position outside most of the 10 cottages on stilts where tourists slept over the bay's azure waters. Resort manager Allan Fabian said they chose only the units with air- conditioners running, a sign they were occupied.

A volley of booted kicks bashed open the doors. A rifle butt shattered a window. The vacationers inside, still sleeping off a day of snorkeling, paddling and fishing, awoke to hushed commands at gunpoint.

Less than 25 minutes after their stealthy landing, the attackers had rounded up 23 tourists and resort staffers and bundled them aboard a covered speedboat. Fabian said some were roughed up a little if they resisted.

Worried about their sagging waterline, the gunmen shoved three resort cooks back on shore, turned on one of their engines and headed south with their captives. They included three Americans and two children, whose mother was not taken and awaited news anxiously today at the resort.

Fabian, who has interviewed all of the guests and staffers who remained, said the resort's accountant, who hid in her beach hut as the attackers smashed her window for a glance inside, sounded the alarm as the sound of engine faded into the distance.

Within 20 minutes, the police and military were scrambling to put helicopters and reconnaissance planes into the air. The tropical sun already had illuminated the dozens of palm-fringed islands, coral reefs, sandbars, fishing boats and ferries in the Mindanao Sea.

Fabian said the attackers used maps and compasses to reach the vicinity of the island, then abducted two fishermen and forced them to serve as guides to the resort. The fishermen were forced off at Dos Palmas to make room for the hostages

The Abu Sayyaf guerrilla group kidnapped 10 foreign tourists and 11 workers from a Malaysian resort 13 months ago.

Today, only 39 of the resort's 113 guests remained. Police in brown fatigues, wielding assault rifles from the shadows of the coconut palms, watched as a few children splashed around in brightly colored plastic canoes above a group of black-tipped sharks.



May 28, 2001, The Columbian (Vancouver, WA) 20 Hostages Taken From Resort, by Paul Alexander, Associated Press writer

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine military took to the air and sea in search of two dozen gunmen who raided an upscale resort wearing ski masks Sunday and then fled by boat with about 20 hostages, including three American tourists.

As darkness fell, the airplanes were recalled and fears were growing of a repeat of the prolonged hostage crisis last year that received worldwide attention and battered the Philippines' international image.

After storming the Dos Palmas Island Resort at dawn, the kidnappers headed south, either toward islands that are home to Muslim extremists who seized foreigners 13 months ago or toward Malaysia, which offered the Philippines its cooperation in the matter.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo dispatched her military chief of staff, Diomedio Villanueva, to direct the search- and-rescue effort from Palawan Island, a short boat ride from the resort, and ships and planes fanned out over the Mindanao Sea.

Villanueva said officials believed they knew who the kidnappers were, but he would not identify them.

Speculation has focused on Abu Sayyaf, the Islamic rebel group that raided a Malaysian tourist resort and took 10 foreign tourists hostage on April 23, 2000. All those hostages have since been freed, some reportedly for large ransoms paid by Libya.

Arroyo ordered "all-out war" on Abu Sayyaf in early April, but military officials said the separatist organization has regrouped in the last two weeks. Still, Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon tried to downplay suggestions that the Abu Sayyaf was responsible for Sunday's raid.

There were concerns for the hostages' safety if a showdown developed, said Arroyo's spokesman, Rigoberto Tiglao. He vowed there would be no negotiations or ransom.

The kidnappings took place at the Dos Palmas resort at Honda Bay in Palawan province, about 375 miles southwest of Manila.

Military officials said two dozen men in ski masks took guests and resort staffers at gunpoint in a raid that lasted about 15 minutes. The guests were believed to include 13 Chinese Filipinos, three Americans and at least one child.

Two of the Americans were identified as Martin and Gracia Burnham, missionaries from Wichita, Kan., who have lived in the Philippines since 1986 and have been working for the New Tribes Mission of Sanford, Fla., said Tim Grossman, who was at the organization's Manila office Sunday.

The couple flew to the resort on Saturday for their 18th wedding anniversary. Their three children Jeffrey, 14, Melinda, 11, and Zachary, 10 also are in the Philippines.

Martin Burnham's mother said from Rose Hill, Kan., that she does not believe a ransom should be paid because that could encourage more kidnappings.

"You could go to Wichita or New York and get mugged, or something like that. We don't feel at all in danger, and our children feel the same way," Oreta Burnham said.

The other American was identified as Guillermo Sobero, of Corona, Calif., who was to mark his 40th birthday Tuesday.

In Corona, a woman who identified herself as his wife, Fanny Sobero, said she learned about the kidnappings from a reporter's phone call.

The couple is in the midst of a divorce.

Fanny Sobero said she last saw her husband Wednesday and that he told her he was going to Lake Havasu, Ariz., to celebrate his birthday with his brother and sister.

She said her husband is an avid diver who has visited Manila several times and has a girlfriend there.

The State Department on Sunday cautioned Americans that travel in certain areas of the Philippines was unsafe.

Violence during recent political demonstrations, kidnappings of foreigners and bombing incidents call for Americans to exert extreme caution throughout the country, the department said.

Before Sunday, the last American to be taken hostage in the Philippines was Jeffrey Schilling of Oakland, Calif.

Schilling was held by Abu Sayyaf for eight months until government troops rescued him last month.



May 28, 2001, NPR All Things Considered, Linda Wertheimer,
Interview: John McLean discusses the current hostage situation involving a Muslim rebel group and a group of tourists in the Philippines

Host: LINDA WERTHEIMER Time: 9:00-10:00 PM

LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

A Muslim rebel group called Abu Sayyaf has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of a large group of tourists from the Philippine island resort of Dos Palmas about 400 miles south of Manila. The kidnappers were reportedly dressed in military-style uniforms when they invaded the resort, searched the waterfront cottages and rounded up foreign tourists. Three Americans were among those taken away in motor boats. John McLean covers the Philippines for the BBC. We called him in Manila and asked him about Abu Sayyaf.

Mr. JOHN McLEAN (BBC): It's a group that's composed of Muslims who say they're fighting for independence for the Muslim minority in the south of the Philippines, which is a predominantly Christian country. But in actual fact, there's little in their actions that is at all political. It appears their main purpose simply is to take tourists hostage and ransom them.

WERTHEIMER: And they've been fairly successful, financially successful at that.

Mr. McLEAN: Certainly. They've kidnapped dozens of Filipinos and foreigners last year, and they were paid millions of dollars to release most of them.

WERTHEIMER: Are the tourist who've been kidnapped, which is a group that includes some Americans, are they in danger?

Mr. McLEAN: Well, one of the hostages has been allowed to speak to a local radio station in the southern Philippines. The man in question is one Martin Burnham, who's a missionary. He's worked in the Philippines for the past 15 years. He's told the radio station that he and the other hostages are all safe, and that they're being well treated. And he's appealed to the Philippine government to negotiate with the kidnappers. And that appeal has received a very frosty reply from President Gloria Arroyo, who's said there will be no negotiations, no ransom and she's even gone as far as to offer a reward of $100, 000 for the capture of the leader of the kidnappers and a reward of $20,000 for each member of the kidnap gang.

WERTHEIMER: Do you think that the Philippine government has the wherewithal to actually go after the hostage takers if that's the decision they make?

Mr. McLEAN: Certainly, they have the resources to do it. Whether they can do it successfully is another question, altogether. The government tried to end the hostage crisis last year by force. They tried by invading the island where the hostages were being held. They invaded the island with some 5,000 troops, with helicopter gunships, jet fighters. There was a very heavy artillery bombardment that lasted several days. And the army is still trying to complete its mission, which was to wipe out the Abu Sayyaf in the first place.

WERTHEIMER: Do you have a sense that they are singling out American tourists, or are they looking for any foreigners? Who are they hunting here?

Mr. McLEAN: There's no question at all that the Abu Sayyaf are specifically after Americans. In actual fact, the two American tourists who they originally held last year managed to escape. I think the Abu Sayyaf was very disappointed that they ended up with a bunch of Europeans on their hands. They believe that the United States is a rich country, and that American citizens demand a much higher price than the citizens of any other country.

WERTHEIMER: John McLean, thank you very much.

Mr. McLEAN: Any time.

WERTHEIMER: John McLean reports for the BBC. We reached him in Manila.



May 28, 2001, Chicago Sun-Times, 3 U.S. hostages taken in Philippines,

MANILA, Philippines The Philippine military took to the air and sea in search of gunmen who raided a resort Sunday and fled with about 20 hostages, including three American tourists.

Two of the Americans were Martin and Gracia Burnham, a missionary couple from Wichita, Kan., celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary at the upscale island retreat.

The other American was identified as Guillermo Sobero of Corona, Calif., who will turn 40 Tuesday.

After storming the Dos Palmas Island Resort at dawn, the kidnappers headed south either toward islands home to Muslim extremists or toward Malaysia.



June 9, 2001, AFP, FBI joins hunt for Philippine rebels,

MANILA -- A deadline set by Muslim guerilla kidnappers for the beheading of three American hostages was running out as Philippine military officers and agents from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Saturday sought first-hand information on the hunt for the rebels.

High-ranking military officials proceeded to the southern island of Basilan where the hostages are being held on Saturday, a day before a 72-hour deadline runs out for the threatened beheading of some of the three Americans held by Abu Sayyaf guerillas.

An Abu Sayyaf spokesman said that the killings of the Americans would start on Sunday unless two Malaysians, a former senator and a businessman, are named the new intermediaries in government talks with the rebels.

A military spokesman said that Lieutenant-General Gregorio Camiling, head of military forces in the southern
Philippines, is in Basilan with other top staff, meeting with local officials, the military and police.

Meanwhile, three hostage-negotiation experts from the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation flew to the southern city of Zamboanga, near Basilan, seeking more information on the kidnapping situation.

Sources said the FBI personnel were met by local police investigators who were giving them details on the Abu Sayyaf's occupation of a Basilan hospital last weekend.

The US Embassy has previously stressed that the FBI is only providing technical advice and is not involved in the actual manhunt for the Abu Sayyaf rebels who are holding the three Americans along with 10 Filipinos on Basilan. -- AFP



June 11, 2001, AP / AFP, One American beheaded, says Abu Sayyaf

ZAMBOANGA (Philippines) -- Muslim extremists claimed on Tuesday that they beheaded one of the three Americans among some two dozen hostages they hold.

The military warned caution, saying the Abu Sayyaf has lied about such allegations in the past.

Abu Sabaya, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf rebels, called Radio Mindanao Network and said that he had killed Guillermo Sobero of Corona, California, who was among a group of people snatched from an island resort on May 27.

'We chopped the head off Guillermo Sobero,' Sbabay told Radio Mindanao Network. 'They better hurry the rescue, otherwise there will be no hostages left.'

Sabaya had threatened to execute one of the Americans at noon on Monday, but delayed it when the Philippine government agreed to one of his demands, that a Malaysian negotiator be brought in to help settle the crisis.

The rebels had taken a batch of hostages last year and had executed Filipinos, but this was the first time they claimed to have killed a foreigner.

Military spokesman Brigadier-General Edilberto Adan warned caution.

'We have to verify this information and confirm, because you know, in the past, Sabaya has said things like this and didn't mean it,' BG Adan said.

Sabaya said the rebels killed the man he called the 'Spanish-American' as 'a gift' to the Philippine president for Tuesday's Independence Day. Mr Sobero is a Peru native.

Tuesday is the 103rd anniversary of the Philiipines' declaration of independence from Spain.

'Look for his head in Tuburan,' Sabaya said. Tuburan is a town on the southern island of Basilan.

He threatened to also behead the other two American captives, Christian missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham, both from Kansas.

Sabaya said that he felt the government was insincere in bringing in Malaysian negotiators.

'We could see that they were fooling us around. They think we are afraid so we beheaded our amigo Sobero,' Sabaya said.

Sabaya had said on Monday that he would check with the Malaysian government to confirm that former Malaysian Senator Sairin Karno could join the negotiating team if his government approved.

Sabaya also had demanded that the government call off the thousands of troops combing the southern island of Basilan for him and his men. -- AP, AFP



June 12, 2001, Reuters, Philippine rebels say U.S. hostage executed,
04:05 AM

MANILA (Reuters) - Muslim rebels in the Philippines have said that they have executed one of three American hostages seized in May from a beach resort.

Military and political spokesmen said that they had no confirmation but presidential press secretary Noel Cabrera said there were "indications" that one American might be dead.

A top security official, meanwhile, said an offensive against the kidnappers on the southern island of Basilan would continue and no ransom would be paid.

The Abu Sayyaf rebels told RMN radio station they had beheaded Guillermo Sobero, 40, from Corona, California.

"We have executed Guillermo Sobero as a gift to the country on independence day," rebel spokesman Abu Sabaya said.

June 12 is an Independence Day holiday in the Philippines.

Sabaya said Sobero had been beheaded and the body left for the troops to find. "The military better hurry up in the rescue because they may not recover anyone alive," he added.

Sobero was one of three Americans and 17 Filipinos kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf on May 27 from a beach resort in Palawan in the southern Philippines. Nine of the Filipino hostages have escaped or been rescued while two have been found dead, apparently executed by the rebels.

Presidential spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao and Cabrera both said there was no confirmation of the rebel claim but Cabrera went further. "From all indications, it looks like it is confirmed," he told radio station dzRH.

He did not say whether a body had been found and he did not elaborate on what he meant by "indications".

"ALL-OUT OFFENSIVE"

The Abu Sayyaf said on Monday they were postponing a threat to execute their American hostages -- Sobero and missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham from Wichita, Kansas -- after the government backed down and agreed to let a Malaysian negotiate with the guerrillas.

But just before the announcement, 20 gunmen from the same group swooped on the village in Lantawan on Basilan and grabbed 15 new hostages.

Asked about other hostages, Tiglao said: "As far as we know, it's only Sobero whom the Abu Sayyaf announced that they have beheaded...

"We are mobilising all of our intelligence network and local officials to try to confirm it... but right now because of the operations and their (rebel) movements we cannot get any independent confirmation," he added.

On the Malaysian negotiator, Tiglao said the Malaysian government had been informed of the situation and so far, there had been no definite word that he could come.

National Security Adviser Roilo 2Golez told radio and television government forces were continuing operations against the rebels. "The all-out offensive is continuing. There is no change in that. There is also no change in the policy of no ransom," he said.

He said operations were concentrated near Lantawan. "It is a mangrove area and it is believed they are there. There is a large force of soldiers surrounding and advancing towards the area. Search and rescue operations are going on," Golez said.

The Abu Sayyaf says it is fighting for a separate state in the south of the mainly Roman Catholic Philippines but its main preoccupation seems to be kidnap for ransom. Last year, it kidnapped dozens of hostages, both foreigners and Filipinos.

Some it freed for ransoms reputedly totalling millions of dollars. Others were rescued or escaped.



June 15, 2001, AFP, US warns again on travel to Sabah,

10:12am, Fri: WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States yesterday raised new concern for the security of Americans in Malaysian government bristled at a previous warning on the threat from Muslim rebels.

The State Department reiterated its concern over attacks in Sabah by the Muslim Abu Sayyaf rebel group which is based in the southern Philippines.

Kidnappers from the group grabbed foreign and Malaysian hostages last year in raids on Sipadan and Pandanan islands.

"US citizens traveling to the islands and in the coastal areas of eastern Sabah should be aware of the persistence of threats from the Abu Sayyaf Group, and should exercise extreme caution if they travel to that region," the department said in a public announcement.

While Malaysia had troops and police on the islands, the region was remote and security assistance may not be readily available, the advisory said.

No evidence

The Abu Sayyaf is currently holding 29 foreign hostages abducted in the Philippines and claims it beheaded
Californian Guillermo Sobero, one of three Americans being held.

There has been no evidence to prove the claim.

Malaysia's Tourism Minister objected to a previous warning on security in Sabah issued in April.

Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fazdir was quoted as saying by the Bernama news agency that "Sabah is a safe destination for tourists," and invited the US ambassador to visit the area.



June 18, 2001, LJWorld, Archive for Monday, June 18, 2001: Philippines, U.S. captive feared dead

A top Philippine military spokesman said today that officials believe an American hostage seized by Muslim rebels is dead, as the rebels claimed last week.

The rebels said last Tuesday that they had beheaded Guillermo Sobero, a 40-year-old from Corona, Calif. His remains have not been found.

Brig. Gen. Edilberto Adan told a news conference that Sobero may have died of infection instead of beheading. Adan told a news conference that the conclusion was based in part on information provided by Francis Ganzon, one of three other hostages held by Abu Sayyaf guerrillas who were reunited with their families on Saturday. The rebels still h



June 18, 2001, Chicago Tribune News, California hostage likely dead, authorities say,

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines (AP) -- A top Philippine military spokesman said Monday that officials believe an American hostage seized by Muslim rebels is dead, as the rebels claimed last week.

The rebels said last Tuesday that they had beheaded Guillermo Sobero, a 40-year-old from Corona, Calif. His remains have not been found.
Brig. Gen. Edilberto Adan told a news conference that Sobero may have died of infection instead of beheading. Adan told a news conference that the conclusion was based in part on information provided by Francis Ganzon, one of three other hostages held by Abu Sayyaf guerrillas who were reunited with their families on Saturday.

The rebels still hold about two dozen other captives, including Kansas missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham. They were captured three weeks ago in a raid on an island resort across the Sulu Sea.

"We have strong reasons to believe the statement of Mr. Ganzon that Guillermo Sobero is dead," Adan said in Manila. "He appeared to have died on the night of June 11 after he was hogtied and separated from the rest of the hostages.

"Before this, he was suffering from a wound in his right foot. It appears he was diabetic because ... after
administering antibiotics, the wound did not heal."

Adan said Sobero had been injecting himself, presumably with insulin, during a boat trip from the resort to Basilan, but then ran out of medicine and started shaking.

"We do not know if he was executed or died of infection," Adan said.

Abu Sabaya, an Abu Sayyaf leader, claimed Sobero was killed because the government agreed to a rebel demand minutes before a deadline to kill the Peru native, but then attacked the same night.

"Sabaya said that this was such a joke," Ganzon said in a radio interview Saturday. "That night, they said they had cut his head off. But I myself did not see it."

Sobero's brother Alberto said he had not heard from anyone about Adan's comments.

"We are going to have to figure out what to do next," he said in an interview in California. "We still have to talk to the State Department and the FBI. That's all I have to say now."

Adan said troops were "closing in" on the rebels Monday on the southern island of Basilan, where they were believed to have the Burnhams.

He said the Burnhams were believed to surviving fairly well under the circumstances. They mostly were eating rice and occasionally got coconuts with brown sugar, small dried fish and a tin of sardines.

He reported a 15-minute encounter between soldiers and the rebels on Sunday afternoon. There were no government casualties, he said.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was visiting Basilan on Monday.

The rebels kidnapped Sobero and 19 other people, including the Americans, from a beach resort on May 27, then eluded an air and sea search, crossing the Sulu Sea in a speedboat to Basilan, an Abu Sayyaf stronghold.

The Abu Sayyaf says it wants a southern Islamic state, but the government calls the rebels mere bandits. Muslims are a minority in the mostly Roman Catholic Philippines, but they form a majority in the southern islands where the Abu Sayyaf operates.



June 28, 2001, Filipino Reporter, Fil-Ams skipping R.P. trips,

Teenage brothers Jason and Chris of North Bergen, N.J., were looking forward for their annual summer vacation for two months in the Philippines, reconnecting with grandparents and cousins in Pangasinan, Iloilo and Manila.

But this year will be different. With the spate of violence and kidnappings back home, not to mention the U.S. travel advisory, their parents decided instead to send them to Italy.

"My sons would love to see their lolos and lolas and go hiking with their cousins," said the boy's father, who requested anonymity. "But I explained to them that this is a bad time. It's better to be safe than sorry."

The two boys understood. They are not alone. Other Filipino-American children are skipping the Philippines this year for security reasons.

Several travel agencies have reported a drop in ticket sales to Manila this year from 20 percent to as much as 99 percent.

Janet Kuo, president of the Manhattan-based Wa Minh Travel, said the latest abduction by the Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines of three Americans and several Filipinos scared visitors away.

As the school year ends, Kuo said Wa Minh Travel usually books more than 500 passengers bound to the Philippines for a family vacation. "Now, we have only booked less than 10 passengers to Manila as of this week," she told the Reporter. "Business travel to the Philippines is down by 99 percent and they all point to the dangers of going to the country. We feel really bad."

Albert Medenilla, president of A.M. Asia Tours & Travel in Manhattan, said his agency for the last three weeks has cancelled 50 flights to Cebu, Davao and Palawan and more are expected as the standoff in Mindanao continues.

"We're down by 20 percent and this is quite alarming for me," Medenilla said. "The impact of the ongoing crisis to tourism is tremendous. Unless the government controls the problem, more and more American tourists, as well as balikbayans will stay away."

Edward Usita of Edward's Travel said the downtrend in business actually started in January at the height of political riots following the ouster of President Joseph Estrada. It worsened after a travel advisory released by the U.S. State Department alarmed regular travelers to the Philippines, including Filipinos in the U.S. Navy based in Virginia.

"Members of the U.S. Navy, particularly the Filipinos, were ordered not to go to the Philippines unless it's really an emergency," said Usita, who has branches in New York, New Jersey, Virginia and Chicago. "We have several cancellations and our sales dropped by up to 30 percent, but we're coping."

The U.S. State Department's advisory, updated June 14, 2001, stated that "a number of recent security-related incidents highlight the danger of travel in the Philippines."

"Violence during recent political demonstrations, kidnappings of foreigners and bombing incidents call for Americans to exercise great caution throughout the Philippines," the travel advisory says. "While the ongoing terrorist campaign of kidnapping foreigners is in progress, Americans should exercise extreme caution when considering travel to beach resorts in the Philippines."

The British Government also issued similar warning urging British nationals to "heighten their security awareness throughout the Philippines."

"Even well-lit and busy city areas cannot be assumed safe," it says. "We strongly advise against all holiday and other nonessential travel to Mindanao and Palawan. Kidnap gangs have used extreme violence against some victims and are increasingly targeting business figures and visitors throughout the Philippines, including Metro Manila and the business district of Makati. Three British nationals have been kidnapped so far this year."

Usita, however, said there are still U.S. Filipinos who are flying to the Philippines regardless of the situation. "Many Filipinos are not scared to go home," he said. "Usually it's the non-Filipinos who are scared."

Although the crisis is concentrated in the south, the tourism industry inb Metro Manila and throughout Luzon and the Visayas is now suffering from the domino effect.
Five star hotels in Metro Manila admitted that their occupancy rates are down and many have cancelled reservations. This despite Philippine Department of Tourism's advisory that "inspite of the incidents that happened in the Barcelo Pearl Farm in Samal Island and at the Dos Palmas Resort in Palawan, all tourist destinations in the country remain safe and generally peaceful."

"We try to convince travelers that the Philippines is generally peaceful and safe, but how can you convince them with all the news we hear about the Philippines?" Medenilla said.

"It's hard to convince them (travelers) to change their minds," said Kuo. "If the country is not safe, we cannot push them to go there. If anything happens to them, it's our conscience. And when they come back, they will curse us like hell, you know, and we will feel very bad."

The majority of tourists to the Philippines still come from the U.S., but many are now having second thoughts and instead turn their sights to Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong. This latest incident involving the Abu

Sayyaf and other reported kidnappings in other parts of the country -- with Chinese, Taiwanese, Singaporeans and rich Filipino-Chinese as target victims -- are likely to worsen the situation and scare off tourists and foreign investors alike.

A recent CNN report said the Philippines has acquired a reputation as "the world's kidnap capital, with a growing number of guerrilla groups and gangland organizations seeing the practice as a route to easy money."

Often the abductions are carried out by armed men who say they are Muslim rebels fighting for independence in the south. But the government described them simply as a gang of bandits.



October 13, 2001, AP, Filipino Muslim extremist group kidnaps four behead two

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ A Muslim extremist group with links to Osama bin Laden kidnapped four coconut farmers on a southern island Saturday and beheaded two of them when they tried to escape, police said.

Bensali Jabarani, police chief of the island province of Basilan, said the Abu Sayyaf rebels invaded the outskirts of the village of Atong Atong before noon Saturday and took the four while they were gathering coconuts from a local plantation.

He said the guerrillas beheaded coconut farmers Isabelo Adlawan and Fernando Romeo after they tried to flee and that the two others escaped and reached a local police station.

The Abu Sayyaf, thought to number 1,000 fighters, has kidnapped dozens of foreigners and Filipinos in recent years and raised millions of dollars in ransom. They still hold two Americans and at least 14 Filipinos, and is accused of the grisly murder of a Californian tourist.

The rebel group says they have ties to bin Laden and that several members were trained in Afghanistan. U.S. and

Filipino authorities have said the same. The Abu Sayyaf claim to be fighting to create an independent Islamic state in the southern region of Mindanao, but the government dismisses them as bandits.

On Friday, the U.S. Embassy in Manila confirmed that bones found last week on Basilan were those of Guillermo Sobero of Corona, Calif.

The Abu Sayyaf abducted Sobero along with two other Americans and 17 Filipinos on May 27 from a southwestern beach resort. Missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham of Wichita, Kan., are still being held captive.

A coconut farmer who escaped from captivity last week, Faizal Benasing, said the two American missionaries have been treated with respect, but have lost weight from lack of food.

More than 7,000 soldiers have been deployed on Basilan island, about 560 miles south of Manila, to hunt down the Abu Sayyaf. U.S. military staff are to make a two-week visit to the island in the next few weeks to help train and outfit the Filipino soldiers. - AP



July 10, 2001, Manila Bulletin, Abu Sayyaf Leader Nabbed in GenSan, Aris R. Ilagan, Bong Reblando,

The Army announced yesterday the capture last Sunday in General Santos City of another top leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group believed responsible for the abduction of 21 foreign and local tourists on Sipadan Island, Malaysia, last year and the foiled abduction of foreigners at the Pearl Farm Beach Resort in Davao City last May.

Lt. Gen. Jaime de los Santos, Army chief, said Nadzmie Sabtullah alias "Commander Global" and "Al Sharri" was arrested by joint elements of the Army, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), and General Santos City policemen in his hideout at sitio Lote, barangay Calumpang, General Santos City at 6:30 p.m. last Sunday.

Sabtullah has a P5 million reward for his arrest, De los Santos said.

Clad in checkered polo shirt and denim pants, Sabtullah was presented to mediamen yesterday at Fort Bonifacio in Makati City.

De los Santos revealed that Sabtullah led a 23-man Abu Sayyaf Group in a foiled abduction of foreigners billeted at the Pearl Farm Beach Resort in Davao City last May 22.

He was reportedly on board a "kumpit", a huge fishing boat outfitted with an outboard motor, when they stormed the Pearl Farm Beach Resort. Alert resort security guards and personnel prevented Sabtullah's group from setting foot on the premises by engaging them in heavy firefight.

Whey they failed to abduct any tourist from the resort, Sabtullah's group withdrew to Malit in Davao del Sur where they sought refuge in a camp of secessionist rebels and later hid their firearms.

De los Sanos also said that Sabtullah was also involved in the abduction of 21 foreign and local tourists in Sippadan Island Resort in Malaysia last year.

Based on military information, Sabtullah later took some of the hostages in Jolo, Sulu before the negotiations for their release began.

According to Brig. Gen. Edilberto Adan, spokesman of the Armed Forces, Sabtullah was among the top Abu Sayyaf leaders in Jolo with more than 500 armed followers.

The arrest of Sabtullah has brought to 11 the total number of arrested Abu Sayyaf members, most of them carrying P1 million to P5 million cash rewards on their heads.

"The reward system (of the government) has given motivation to some of their followers to squeel on their leaders," Adan said.

De los Santos expressed belief that Sabtullah went to General Santos City to recruit members and procure more firearms for their group. (Aris R. Ilagan)

Operations man

GENERAL SANTOS CITY - Abu Sayyaf leader Nadzmi Sabdulla alias "A1 Shariff" and "Commander Global," captured along with his three men by a composite team in a suburban village here last Sunday, was the operations officer of the bandit group, police and the military officers said here yesterday.

Sabdulla also acted as the spokesman of the group that abducted 21 local and foreign tourists from the Sipadan resort in Malaysia last year, according to Chief Supt. Manuel T. Raval, Central Mindanao police chief.

Sabdulla's arrested followers were Halik Sabdani, 23, alias "Abujar" or "Hajala" of Matajal, Maimbong Sulu; Saltimar Sali, 17, alias "Toto", of Bilaan, Talipao, Sulu; and Javier Sampang T. Subgaha, 32, alias "Abu Khair" or "Kahir", of Lower Calarian, Zamboanga City.

In his report to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Leandro Mendoza, Raval said all the captured terrorists were involved in the attack on Pearl Farm Beach Resort in Samal last May and in the Sipadan kidnaping.

The Abu Sayyaf leader was to be presented at yesterday's press conference at the City Hall called by Mayor Pedro Acharon Jr. but he was was taken y Col. Pedrito Magsino, 601st Infantry Brigade chief, from police custody and flown to Manila.

Acharon, Raval and Supt. Conrado Laza presented the three remaining Abu Sayyaf bandits who were captured along with the leader.

Sabdulla was nabbed while praying inside a mosque last Sunday night in Acharon Village in barangay Calumpang here by the PNP, Army and government detective.

His three followers were captured inside the house of Hadji Arad Jabarani in the same village.

Magsino, in a press conference at the Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Makati, said he had to bring Sabdulla to Malacanang on orders of President Arroyo.

"Magsino did not even allow us even a minute to have a glimpse of Sabdulla," local journalists complained.

Laza and Supt. Abelardo Villacorta, regional intelligence officer, who led the operations, said the four did not resist arrest.

Seized from the suspects were an Armalite rifle, 98 bullets for M-16 armalite rifles, and two-hand held Icom radios.

Sabdulla and his aides were pinpointed in a lineup of Muslims by another Abu Sayyaff member who was earlier captured by intelligence agents in Davao City.

The General Santos City police earlier secured search warrants for the eight houses in barangay Calumpang suspected as hideouts of the arrested bandits.

Malacanang

Malacanang yesterday lauded the arrest of an Abu Sayyaf leader, saying that the capture signals the start of the fall of the bandit group that has terrorized residents in Sulu and Basilan.

Presidential Spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao described the arrest as the result of the combined operations of the police, the Armed Forces, and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

"We see it as another indication that the Abu Sayyaf network is being gradually but surely dismantled. In fact, we see that we're turning the corner now in the fight against the Abu Sayyaf," Tiglao said.

Libyan envoy

GENERAL SANTOS CITY - Libyan Ambassador to Manila Salem Adem has denounced the Abu Sayyaf for committing atrocities which he said run counter to the teachings of Islam.

The Abu Sayyaf, which means "Bearer of the Sword," has fancied itself as a group fighting for the cause of Islam.

"But what they do are un-Islamic and do not speak well of the rest of the Muslims," Adem aid.

Adem described the group as a mere bunch of criminals whom the Philippine government must deal with.

"The (Philippine) military must do al it can to suppress them," he said.

Adem was here on a visit Sunday pror to attending a general assembly of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Cotabato City today.

The Libyan government has been instrumental in negotiating for the release of hostages, mostly foreigners, held by the Abu Sayyaf from a Malaysian resort on the island of Sipadan last year.

Adem said the defeat of Abu Sayyaf would not only be a ictory for soldiers but a victory of the entire Filipino people.

Echoing Adem's views, Utto Salem Cutan, a member of the MNLF Council of 15, pointed out that "a military action is the best thing that can be done" in dealing with the Abu Sayyaf.

Cutan, who used to fight government troops as an MNLF commander years back, said the government must decisively put an end to the Abu Sayyaf atrocities in order for the country to regain its losses. (BR)



September 30, 2001, Filipinas,Abu Sayyaf Leader Falls

Military and police officials arrested Nadzmie Saabdula, the chief of staff of the Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf faction, and three of his men in General Santos City last July 8.
"We're turning the corner now in the fight against the Abu Sayyaf," said Presidential spokesperson Rigoberto Tiglao.

Saabdula, alias Commander Global, is described as a soft-spoken intellectual. He is the only Abu Sayyaf member known to have a college degree (in criminology from the Zamboanga A.E. Colleges). He was also a member of the Beta Sigma fraternity of the University of the Philippines. Journalists who covered the Sipadan hostage drama last year described him as articulate and sincere. Captured Abu Sayyaf members say that Saabdula would sit silently in meetings while others debated, but when he spoke the others would yield. Saabdula was tagged as the leader of the bloody May 22 attack on the Barcelo Pearl Farm Beach Resort in Samal Island, Davao del Norte.



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