Bounty hunters join search for Abu Sayyaf terrorists
Bounty hunters have joined armed civilians in tracking down Abu Sayyaf terrorists who holding three kidnapped Red Cross workers in Sulu province in the southern Philippines, a security official said Monday. Officials said hundreds of civilians have armed themselves and have joined police and military in sealing off a huge area in the hinterlands of Indanan town where the Abu Sayyaf is keeping Swiss national Andreas Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba.

The trio was kidnapped January 15 after inspecting water and sanitation projects at a prison in the town of Patikul. Many of the armed civilians are attracted with the huge bounties on the heads of Abu Sayyaf leaders Albader Parad and Abu Pula whose real name is Umbra Jumdail, and their followers, according to the official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

The United States has offered as much as US $5 million for known Abu Sayyaf leaders under the Rewards for Justice System. Manila also set aside P100 million rewards for the capture of Abu Sayyaf terrorists and their leaders – dead or alive. Many residents in Sulu were unaware of the huge bounties being offered by Washington and Manila on known Abu Sayyaf commanders, despite the killings of several of its top leaders the past years.

Sixteen of Sulu’s 19 mayors also signed a manifesto with Governor Sakur Tan giving their support to resolve the kidnapping crisis and at the same time condemning the Abu Sayyaf atrocities. Muslim religious and business groups also condemned the kidnapping of the three aid workers and other abductions in Basilan and Zamboanga City. Called the Sabiel Al-Muhtadeen Foundation, the group said “these are acts against humanity and against the teachings of Islam because Islam teaches peace, harmony and sobriety for all human beings at all time.”
Posted by: ryuge 2009-02-09