Timeline: The Abu Sayyaf atrocities

By Enrico Antonio La Vina and Lilita Balane, Newsbreak

Posted at Mar 31 2009 11:53 PM | Updated as of Nov 09 2009 09:28 PM

The abduction of the International Committee on the Red Cross (ICRC) personnel last January is only the latest in the string of terrorist acts perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf Group. Since the early 1990s, the group, which has sown terror mostly in the southern Philippines, has been involved with a number of kidnappings, beheadings, and bombings.

A number of these acts victimized civilians, foreigners and members of the media. Newsbreak compiled some of the most infamous atrocities perpetrated by the group since 1990s:

1991-1992: Abu Sayyaf Group launches a string of attacks against Christian churches, missionaries and communities. Two American evangelists are killed in a grenade attack in Zamboanga City, and the Christian missionary ship M/V Doulos is bombed.

December 26, 1993: Six people are killed and 132 wounded in the Abu Sayyaf’s bombing of a cathedral in Davao City.

June 10, 1994: The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) blames the Abu Sayyaf for bomb attacks in Zamboanga City that left at least 71 people dead.

April 4, 1995: The ASG raids the town of Ipil in Zamboanga del Sur (now Zamboanga Sibugay). The attack left at least 53 people dead and wounded 48 others.

March 20, 2000: ASG kidnaps more than 50 students and teachers from two schools in Tumahubong, Sumisip, Basilan. Four of those kidnapped are killed.

April 20, 2000: GMA-7 Television reporter Suzan Enriquez is kidnapped in Basilan by the ASG. She is released after a few days.

April 23, 2000: The ASG kidnaps 19 foreigners and two Filipinos from a resort in Sipadan, Malaysia. Most of the hostages are released after paying ransom.

May 2000: Ten foreign journalists—seven Germans, a French, a Danish, and an Australian—are abducted in Jolo, Sulu. They were released after 10 hours.

July 2000: German Andreas Lorenz, who was kidnapped before on May 2000, was kidnapped again in Jolo, Sulu. He was released after 25 days.

French Television reporter Maryse Burgot, cameraman Jean-Jacques Le Garrec, and sound technician Roland Madura are abducted in Jolo, Sulu. They are released after two months in captivity.

ABS-CBN television reporter Maan Macapagal and cameraman Val Cuenca are abducted in Zamboanga. They were released after four days in captivity.

Televangelist Wilde Almed and 12 people from the Jesus Miracle Crusade go to the Abu Sayyaf base in Jolo, Sulu to pray over the 21 Sidapan hostages. The preachers are kidnapped and become captives of the ASG. They were rescued by the military a half month later.

August 28, 2000: American Jeffrey Schilling, a Muslim convert who went to the Philippines to marry a woman he met online, is kidnapped after visiting an Abu Sayyaf camp in Jolo, Sulu. He was rescued by the military on April 12, 2001.

May 27, 2001: The ASG abducts 20 foreign and Filipino tourists from Dos Palmas beach resort in Palawan and brings them to Basilan. The government then launches large-scale military rescue operations to free the hostages, including Americans Guillermo Sobero, Martin Burnham, and Gracia Burnham. Of the three Americans, only Gracia survived. Sobero was beheaded in June 2001.

January 2002: Philippine Daily Inquirer contributor and Net 25 television reporter Arlyn dela Cruz is captured in Zamboanga. She is released after over two months in captivity.

August 20, 2002: The ASG kidnaps six Filipino Jehovah’s Witness missionaries in Sulu. Two of them are beheaded while the remaining hostages are rescued and are able to escape.

May 4, 2003:
ASG claims responsibility for the bombing of the Davao International Airport in Davao City that killed 21 people and injured 166 others.

February 27, 2004: The SuperFerry 14 explodes and catches fire off the coast of Corregidor Island. The incident killed at least 100 people. The government later filed criminal charges against six people linked to the ASG.

July 10, 2007: The AFP sends 50 troops to Basilan to search for a missing Italian priest.
The soldiers are ambushed and 14 of them were killed. Ten of the soldiers are beheaded. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front blames the Abu Sayyaf Group for the incident.

June 2008: ABS-CBN reporter Ces Oreña Drilon and cameramen Jimmy Encarnacion and Angelo Valderama are kidnapped in Jolo, Sulu. Valderama is released on June 12 while the other two hostages were released on June 17.

January 15, 2009: The ASG abducts 3 representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The representatives are 62 year-old Italian national Eugenio Vagni; 38 year-old Swiss national Andreas Notter; and 44 year-old Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba.

April 2, 2009: The ASG releases Filipina ICRC hostage Mary Jean Lacaba in the evening.

April 18, 2009: Policemen rescue Swiss ICRC worker Andreas Notter in Indanan town in Sulu province. Notter is said to be left behind by fleeing Abu Sayyaf bandits this morning.

May 18, 2009: ASG gunmen in Basilan behead a 61-year-old farmer Doroteo Gonzales after they abducted him last April 25.

July 11, 2009: Italian ICRC worker Eugenio Vagni is finally released by the ASG after holding him captive for almost 7 months.

September 23, 2009:  Three government teachers—Jocelyn Enriquez, Jocelyn Inion and Naime Manda abducted by ASG bandits last March 13 in Zamboanga Sibugay are released.

November 9, 2009: Policemen recover the head of Kanague Elementary School principal Gabriel Canizares beside a gasoline station in downtown Jolo at 5:30 a.m. Canizares, along with other teachers, were flagged down by ASG bandits last October 19  in Patikul, Sulu.

Sources: Various news reports, Newsbreak, Sunstar, abs-cbnNEWS.com, GMANews.tv