MANILA—To fully eliminate the Abu Sayyaf Group threat, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is now targeting the infrastructure making up its kidnapping network.
By infrastructure, AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo was referring to the bandit group’s spotters, kidnappers, caretakers, financiers and negotiators.
This was demonstrated by the recent neutralization of three ASG spotters in Tawi-Tawi, he added.
Arevalo said efforts are still ongoing to further unravel this infrastructure so that ASG will lost its capacity to generate funds, hereby losing their capability to acquire weapons, equipment, food and support from the communities they are embedded with.
Earlier, the AFP public affairs office chief said no efforts will be spared to rescue ASG captive Juergen Kantner whom the bandits threatened to behead this coming Feb. 26 if their PHP30 million ransom demand are not paid.
He also said that troops on Monday have started conducting intensified operations in a bid to locate and rescue the German captive.
Arevalo declined to give the locations on where the operations are being conducted for security and operational reasons.
The AFP official also said these operations are also aimed at recovery other hostages still in the hands of the terrorist group.
“We are still confident that we will be able to do it, rescue Kantner alive, and we doing all level best to do this,” he added.
Kantner was kidnapped by the ASG bandits while his yacht “Rockall” was cruising off Sulu waters last November.
His companion, 56-year-old Sabine Mertz, was shot and killed by the bandits and allegedly raped.