Wives of Malaysian hostages hope op to rescue Germans will save hubbies

Wives of Malaysian hostages hope op to rescue Germans will save hubbies
A photo released on September 24, 2014 by US-based SITE shows the two German hostages kidnapped by the Philippine Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines.

KOTA KINABALU - The wives of two Malaysian hostages held by Abu Sayyaf terror group are praying that the Philippine military operation to rescue a German couple will include their husbands.

Sharifah Erna Berson and Chin Pek Nyen said it was good to hear that the Philippines government was going all out to rescue the German couple in Jolo.

"I don't know if my husband is being held by the same group of people holding the German couple.

"Nevertheless, I hope their troops will also rescue my husband," said 23-year-old Sharifah, the wife of Marine constable Zakiah Aleip, 26, who was abducted by Filipino gunmen from the Mabul Water Bungalows resort in Semporna on July 12.

She said if there was a shootout or direct confrontation between the Filipino military and the Abu Sayyaf gunmen, "I pray that my husband's life will not be put at risk."

She said the last call she received from her husband and the abductors were a few weeks ago.

"I begged them to let him go as we are not wealthy.

"They told me that it wasn't us they were asking the ransom from, but from the Malaysian government, she added.

The gunmen have demanded RM5mil (S$1.9 million) for the release of Zakiah.

Sharifah said she had no trouble speaking to the Abu Sayyaf gunmen because they could converse in Malay and English besides the Suluk language.

Likewise, Chin hopes that no harm will come to her husband Chan Sai Chuin, 32, during the military operations.

"I can only pray that even if he is not rescued this time, he will be rescued before the abductors decide to hurt him, said Chin, 42.

She feared for her husband's life as the gunmen had told her that enough time had been given to raise the RM3mil ransom demanded and any further delay would put her husband in danger.

Chan was snatched from his fish farm in Kunak on June 16.

Both Zakiah and Chan are believed to in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf gunmen, led by its notorious leader Al-Habshi.

The Germans Dr Stefeb Victor Okonek, 71, and Herike Diesen, 55, were abducted on April 25 while sailing their yacht from Pelawan island to Sabah. They are believed to be held by the Abu Sayyaf group Commander Redulan Sahiron.

Last week, one of the terror group's spokesman, who identified himself as Abu Rame, threatened to behead one of Germans if two demands were not met by Oct 10.

The Philippines government has since dispatched about 1,000 fresh troops to attack the Abu Sayyaf group and rescue the German couple in Jolo.

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