- Abu Sayyaf has expressed desire to talk with President Duterte
- The terrorist group said it will not hesitate to murder Norwegian hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad if the government refused
- The current ransom demand of the group for Sekkingstad alone is P300 million
The Sulu terror cell Abu Sayyaf Group told over local radio DXRZ yesterday that they are willing to start talks with President Duterte. However, the group did not mince words and threatened to kill Norwegian hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad if the government did not heed to their initiative. The group is using hostages as leverage over the Philippine government to get ransom demands to finance their terror activities. They have already pledged their allegiance to middle-eastern terror group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). The group is seen as the launch pad for ISIS expansion to south-east Asia.
The group has specifically asked that Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Jesus Dureza oversee the talks so that the group can communicate their demands and grievances to Duterte. However, the group declined to comment on what specifics they are willing to talk to the government about. The only clear thing that the group wants is for the government to come to them.
They have given the government an ultimatum: start talking Friday until next Saturday, or Sekkingstad will be murdered.
“If they will just disregard us, as soon as possible, we will no longer issue any ultimatum we will execute him (Sekkingstad)," said Muammar Askali alias Abu Rami, the official spokesperson of the group.
The group did not talk about their other captives. Just recently, the group has beheaded Canadians John Ridsel and Robert Hall in an attempt to show their seriousness. They released Marites Flor last week because there was alleged payment of a ransom, which the group will continue to use for future terror attacks if the government does not resolve the issue immediately.