Moro, civil society groups bare “mysterious, alarming, rampant daily kidnapping for P3,000 ransom only” in Jolo, Sulu

mar 16, 2014

Due to news blackout on the “mysterious, alarming, rampant daily kidnapping in Jolo, Sulu”, Moro, civil society and human rights organizations called for a press conference Friday in Davao City, then bared and condemned the spate of kidnappings made by yet unknown groups to hapless ordinary persons who are no longer Christians starting February.

“This alarming kidnapping spree started last February 17 with the kidnapping of Salinas couple whose whereabouts are still unknown up to this day. Since their kidnapping more than 50 persons were already kidnapped in Sulu. In some cases where the victims are ordinary persons, the kidnappers are asking for a ransom of P3,000 only,” said Warina Sushil Jukuy, western Mindanao coordinator of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA).

She said that there has been news blackout on “this very alarming, unstoppable kidnapping spree with the armed kidnappers victimizing no longer only the Christians… unlike before, now the kidnappers in Jolo, Sulu are victimizing ordinary Muslims, and one Samal woman was kidnapped and raped. Ordinary teachers, ordinary Badjaos, Samals are being kidnapped.”

“Kidnapping there is like eating your breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s happening three times a day,” Jukuy told reporters.
“In the history of Sulu, this is the first time that kidnappings like these are happening. The kidnappers are on a rampage. There’s complete breakdown of law and order in the province now,” she said.

Marie Claire Salinas, 48, and her husband Bonifacio Salinas, 50, were snatched from their house by still unidentified armed men at around 5:30 in the morning.

“They are long-time residents in Jolo for about 70 years already,” Jukuy said.

She also informed reporters that on Friday also a group of “1 thousand rising” Muslims and people of Jolo themselves held indignation rally in Jolo to “protest against kidnapping and the impunity in the province of Sulu.”
PHARA and some 40 other civil society organizations led by the Mindanao Peoples Caucus have loudly appealed to President Benigno Aquino III as a commander in chief of the armed forces to step in to the real situation in Jolo, Sulu now and stop the rash of kidnappings.

They lambasted the inutile posture and inaction of the Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan on the rash of kidnapping as well as the police and military officials in the province “for doing nothing and for only guarding the officials and none for the civilians”.

“Is there an unseen hand at work in the sudden rash of kidnappings?” Jukuy asked.

The groups demanding for immediate stop of the spate of kidnappings through strong military and police action have four speculations on the motive of kidnapping spree.

These are: possibly, “machination by the military”, a “destabilization project” considering the recent Bangsamoro agreement, “demonizing of Islam” as kidnappers wear tasbih (prayer beads), and made by “drug addicts who abound in Jolo, Sulu.”
The groups also castigated the “suspicious release of Abu Sayyaf member Sali Said from the intensive care area of Camp Bagong Diwa” which “is a classic example of how the provincial government of Sulu protects hardcore Abu Sayyaf kidnappers.”

Moreover, they hit “the continued persecution of Sulu’s human rights defender Cocoy Tulawie” who continues to languish in jail after he was arrested in January 2012 in Davao City on what they said as “fabricated charges” on his alleged involvement in the attempt to kill Gov. Tan in 2009.

Meanwhile, the ARMM’S Regional Human Rights Commission (RHRC) joined with the groups calling for the stop of the rash of kidnapping and the end of impunity reigning in the province.

“The Philippine National Police and the regional and local government units must reassert their authority in Sulu to restore peace and order now. We cannot accept the present situation, we cannot ignore the lawlessness, and we cannot stand the deafening silence of our leaders and authorities,” RHRC said in a statement signed by its chairperson Atty. Almagar Latiph. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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