Philippines: December 11, 2001


Some 250 Misurai followers surrounded in a village outside Zamboanga have agreed to surrender their weapons, swear allegiance to the new governor (who replaced Misurai) and go home on the 13th. The government announced that they were aware of efforts to negotiate a ransom for the two Americans still held by Abu Sayyaf on Basilan (the third hostage is a Filipino nurse). Ransom is forbidden in the Philippines (although it is often paid anyway), because it simply encourages more kidnappings. Someone, no doubt relatives of the American couple held captive, have engaged a Malaysian politician to contact Abu Sayyaf and negotiate a deal. The army says that it will arrest anyone on Basilan trying to arrange a ransom. The military has lost 34 dead trying to free these hostages and wants Abu Sayyaf out of action for good. 


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