Abu Sayyaf demands millions in ransom

Islamist militants that kidnapped three humanitarian workers in the Philippines have demanded a $5 million (SFr5.6 million) ransom, according to a military report.

This content was published on April 7, 2009 - 19:02

The Abu Sayyaf group released one of the workers, Mary Jean Lacaba, a Philippines national, last week.

It continues to hold two employees of the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), including Andreas Notter, a Swiss citizen, on Jolo island.

About two dozen people have been kidnapped in 12 incidents on two restive southern islands since January, authorities say.

Last year, Muslim rebels generated more than 22 million pesos (SFr528,000) in ransom payments from at least six kidnappings, including the high-profile abduction of three members of a local television network, according to the Philippines military.

In 2000, Abu Sayyaf took about 20 people – most of them Western tourists – captive from an island resort across the Malaysian border.

They were all released within three months after the Libyan government paid a ransom of around $10 million, media reports said at the time.

swissinfo with agencies

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