Abu Sayyaf rebel group have on Wednesday announced through the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi websites, that they want the immediate release of Senator Leila de Lima.
The group threatened more kidnappings and beheading if the Filipino government does not “heed to the warning immediately”.
“Putting De Lima in jail is murderous and its no different from what we do. Release her immediately or witness more kidnappings and beheading” – member of the group announced.
De Lima is currently charged with drug-related offenses and has previously denied links to the terrorist group.
The Senator last year denied allegations of protecting and financing suspected Abu Sayyaf members, calling these “totally insane” and “outrageously ridiculous.”
“This latest accusation that I am a protector and financier of terrorists is not only totally insane but also outrageously ridiculous!” De Lima said in a statement.
De Lima said the present administration was behind the move, in an effort to further damage her reputation.
“It only exposes at how this administration could bend so low at digging in the imagined dirt that it fails to see the public laughing at them,” the senator said.
Abu Sayyaf has earned many millions of dollars in ransom payments and rarely releases a hostage unless money is paid. Relatives and employers of hostages typically pay, rather than governments.
Two Canadian men were beheaded by the group last year and a Norwegian man was released.
Duterte also repeated his request for China to help patrol regional waters to stop more kidnappings, saying Beijing had not given him a response.
Duterte specified he would like China to patrol the Malacca Strait, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes between the Malaysian peninsula and Indonesia’s Sumatra island.
Abu Sayyaf emerged in the early 1990s as an offshoot of a separatist rebellion by minority Moro Muslims in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation’s south.
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