Woe to the beheaders!

Mutilating the body of dead person, even if he is an enemy, is against the teachings of Islam. But the Canadians are not our enemy. They are in fact helping resolve the conflict in Mindanao in many ways and means including giving of grants for various projects or programs in the region. They headed the Independent Commission on Policing (ICP) which through their recommendations served as one of the references of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) in crafting the Bangsamoro Basic |Law (BBL).

In no doubt, beheading is one such example of mutilation.

It is for this reason, among others, that the MILF condemns the beheading of Canadian citizen John Ridsdel by Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) last April 25. The beheading is a cold-blooded murder. Woe to the beheader of John Ridsdel!

We join the families and friends of the victim in their hour of bereavement and grief. If we could only have a wish, we would like the body of the victim located and returned to the family. This is not a big deal for the ASG to try to give due regard. After all, we don’t think they are not as human as anyone of us in many aspects. More importantly, we appeal to them to return to the legitimate way of asserting our right to self-determination. Kidnapping will never lead anyone to nowhere. It might be rewarding momentarily, courtesy of the ransom paid, but in the long run, ultimate justice will prevail over what is unjust and immoral. It is the nature of things that evil acts have limit and good deeds have no bound. When the limit of evil acts is crossed, God Almighty will decree that retribution shall take its way.

It is time for government to be more tactful and prudent in addressing kidnapping in Sulu. It seems everything it tried does not produce encouraging results. Using brute force is oftentimes counter-productive; paying ransom encourages kidnappers to step up their evil trade.  

Is there a middle ground that is not yet tested?

We do not know and we are not suggesting any. Kidnapping is such an evil that even if you are not a party to the crime, the moment you participate in the negotiation, then you are no longer immune from suspicion that in one or many ways you are connected to it. This is more pronounced if ransoms are paid. How many high profile personalities who were suspected of getting a share of the ransom pie and are still reeling from the negative consequences.

On many occasions, the government had branded the ASG as a spent force. But each time that claim is made, the ASG sprung up from the demise tag and returned to their base in Sulu with fresh kidnap victims. It appeared then and today that such statements are only for media blowout or mileage.

How do we explain the staying power of the ASG? The government should study this phenomenon thoroughly. Do they have the great motivation and support of the people to explain this resilience? Or simply, other players in the province like the MNLF and politicians are not lifting their fingers to help, directly or in their own ways. (The MILF is still consolidating both its political and military organs in the province).