The Abu Sayyaf bandit group is demanding 30 million pesos for the release of five Indonesian fishermen. The bandits reportedly contacted the employer of the fishermen two weeks after the kidnapping, according to Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, chief of the Western Mindanao Command.
Sobejana said the kidnappers wanted the ransom paid in Malaysian ringgit. He said the Philippine government is strictly following a no ransom policy.
The victims were seized by at least six armed men from a Malaysian fishing boat in the waters off Lahad Datu, Sabah on January 17. The kidnappers brought the victims to Sulu then turned over the captives to the Abu Sayyaf.
Sobejana added the military is pursuing a group that kidnapped local doctor Daniel Moreno on February 4. The bandits need a physician to treat wounded comrades and an Abu Sayyaf leader who is reportedly suffering from tuberculosis.