Abu Sayyaf's Malaysian hostage pleads for help in phone call to media

In an eight-minute conversation, the sailor says they were being held in a jungle and beaten up.

A Malaysian hostage held by the Abu Sayyaf militants sent an SOS message, pleading for help as he has been starved and beaten up.

"We can't bear it anymore. We are in pain. All of us are sick. We have cuts on our bodies. We are weak. No food to eat. What's more, we are beaten. There are people who want to shoot us. Please help us," he said in the message.

Mohd Ridzuan Ismail, one of the five Malaysians abducted by Abu Sayyaf gunmen, shared this message. Ismail was kidnapped from Lahad Datu waters in the east coast of Sabah on July 18.

On Wednesday, Abu Rami, Abu Sayyaf spokesman called The Star from Jolo island, southern Philippines, and passed the phone to the 32-year-old hostage for sending a message to the Malaysian government.

In an eight-minute long conversation, the sailor said that they were being held in a jungle and begs for help.

"I'm a hostage from Malaysia. My name is Mohd Ridzuan Ismail. And I'm asking for help from the government and my boss to rescue us as soon as possible," he said in Bahasa Malaysia

"We're suffering in Jolo island. We appeal to the Malaysian government and our boss to negotiate for our release as we want to return home as soon as possible," he added.

Reports say that there is a possibility that Mohd Ridzuan might die in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf militants.

"Only sometimes we are fed. Even for drinking water, we have to take water from the drain. If there is food, it is only rice to line the stomach," Ismail said in the message.

According to Mohd Ridzuan, the hostages are also hit with a gun. "We are frightened. This is not our place. They whack us and they told us that they can shoot us," he added

Ismail also gave further informations about the torture the hostages have to endure.

"We sleep on the ground. And when it rains, we get soaked," he said.

Mohd Ridzuan was kidnapped along with four other Sabahan sailors, who have been identified as Tayudin Anjut (45), Abd Rahim Summas (62), Mohd Zumadil Rahim (23) and Fandy Bakran (26).

When Mohd Ridzuan was asked about the total number of gunmen present there, he said, "there were many, too many to count".

He also said that initially the gunmen used to contact his boat owner but suddenly the owner has stopped answering the calls. "Please contact my boss and my family so that they can help us to get home as soon as possible. It has been two months. We don't know what else to do," he pleaded.

Earlier, in a telephonic interview, Abu Rami said the kidnappers were asking for 100 million pesos (S$2.82 million) in order to release the Malaysians.

He also shared information of the hostages and said they were kept in Luuk municipality in Jolo island by an Abu Sayyaf leader named Abu Khalif.

Abu Rami said the captives were separated into three groups. He said the oldest hostage, who was identified as Al Harakatul Al Islamiyyah was sick.

When Abu Rami was asked whether Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari could negotiate for the release of the victims, he said: "If he has 100 million pesos. If not, then no."

He also said that the place where the hostages were kept had no military presence. He challenged the military and questioned, "Why don't they want to counter us?"

The Abu Sayyaf spokesman sent two photographs of the hostages to The Star on Sunday.

The Malaysian authorities are apparently working with their Filipino counterparts for the release of the captives. However, the Sabah police commissioner Abdul Rashid Harun has declined to discuss negotiation on the hostages.