Kidnapped marine policeman: Expert

Kidnapped marine policeman: Expert
Zakiah, seen here in this file pic, with his wife, Sharifah, and their child.

JOLO - Kidnapped marine policeman Zakiah Aleip will not believe that he is a hostage. That is what former Abu Sayyaf hostage Octavio A. Dinampo thinks is going on in the mind of Kons Zakiah, 26, who was abducted from Pulau Mabul on July 12.

"At first a hostage does not believe that he is in that situation," said Dinampo, who was kidnapped together with well-known Filipino news anchor Ces Drillion and others on Jolo island on June 8, 2008.

"He will also not believe that his captors are his blood brothers - Mujahedeens," he said.

According to Philippines security officials in Jolo and Zamboanga City, Zakiah is under heavy guard in a jungle hideout about 18km from Jolo in the southern Philippines.

The 26-year-old marine policeman is being held by the Abu Sayyaf group Alhabsi, led by Alhabsi Misaya, in an area dotted with fruit orchards and coconut plantations, and on the border of the Indanan and Parang municipalities.

After Zakiah accepts his fate as a hostage, however, according to Dinampo, he will start worry about his family.

"He will be very worried about his wife (Sharifah Erna Berson) and his child," said the Mindanao State University lecturer.

He added that the hostage would also begin to entertain the idea of being rescued.

The last thing Zakiah would think about, according to Dinampo, was escaping.

"He wouldn't know where to go. He would be worried what would happen to him if he attempted to escape," he said.

Dinampo said Zakiah would most probably be made to wear a black jacket, like the kind that can be bought from second-hand clothing stores in Jolo town.

"The hostage and Abu Sayyaf members will be in black so that if there is a rescue operation, security forces will not be able to easily distinguish the hostage from the captors," he said.

According to the expert, in most cases, hostages are usually fed instant noodles, cooked banana and cassava.

"Sometimes the hostage gets rice if (the captors) have it in their ration," he said.

Alhabsi would be treating Zakiah well, Dinampo said.

However, if the captors become frustrated with the negotiation process, they would use psychological threats on the hostage.

"They will show a bolo (a parang) to the hostage and say'this bolo was used to behead 12 people. If your family or government don't pay, your head will be the 13th'," he said.

The reason for the psychological threats, according to Dinampo, is so that a frightened hostage would ask his family via satellite phone or cellphone to accelerate the negotiation process.

Zakiah, he added, would, however, not be harmed as he was a precious commodity.

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