Number of Abu Sayyaf hostages doubled in Duterte administration, says DND chief

Number of Abu Sayyaf hostages doubled in Duterte administration, says DND chief

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While Rodrigo Duterte promised to eliminate criminality in the country, it is quite surprising that the number of hostages kidnapped by terrorist group Abu Sayyaf doubled since Duterte took office, according to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

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"When the President [took office] on June 30, there were only 18 hostages being held by the Abu Sayyaf. Now there are 31. So dumami pa. It is very embarrassing to the whole world," Lorenzana said.

The number does not include German Juergen Kantner, who was killed late last month. The military said 25 of the hostages still held by the Abu Sayyaf are foreigners.

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Lorenzana also revealed that the problem in the Southern Philippines is giving him a headache as he keeps on thinking how to resolve it. He added that a series of meetings among Philippine, Malaysian and Indonesian forces to deal with the terrorist problem by conducting joint patrols.

The Philippine component to this mission will be a task force headed by a major (two-star) general that will be based in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi equipped with fast-craft, ships and drones.

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