Abu Sayyaf demands $800,000 ransom for trio

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

KOTA KINABALU - The armed men who abducted three Indonesian fishermen off Lahad Datu, Sabah, two months ago are demanding RM2.45mil (S$799,936) for their release.

The demand, made through one of the victims via a video recording, was released on Facebook last Saturday.

The three were identified as Maharudin Lunani, 48, his son Muhammad Farhan, 27, and crew member Samiun Maneu, 27. They were abducted by armed men from a Sandakan-registered fishing trawler off Tambisan waters.

In the 43-second video, Samiun identified them as Indonesians and had worked in Malaysia.

They pleaded to their two employers to secure their freedom.

"We ask the Indonesian president to help free us. The ASG (Abu Sayyaf group) has demanded 30 million pesos (S$799,936) in ransom, " he said.

It was also reported that a family member of one of the victims had received a similar ransom demand before the release of the video.Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah said, according to their Philippine counterparts, the kidnappers had also made such a demand a few days after they abducted the fishermen.

He, however, did not disclose the amount, adding that police do not entertain such requests.