New photo of kidnapped Aussie posted on FB
MANILA, Philippines – Behind his skinny figure, a black flag looms. And for the first time, 3 armed men surround him in a picture, signs of the fate to befall him if a Facebook message is to be believed.
Posted on Tuesday, January 29, the message on Facebook threatened to kill kidnapped Australian Warren Rodwell. The threat was made by a group calling itself Al Harakatul Al-Islamiyyah, an apparent reference to the formal name adopted by the terrorist group, the Abu Sayyaf.
The post told the Australian government, "We will give you a chance to save his life before it's too late." Sources told Rappler negotiations for his release are ongoing.
In his newest picture, Rodwell holds a January 25, 2013 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Speaking to Rappler, Filipino intelligence sources confirmed the post is authentic. One of them said they were warned “about it in advance.”
“To the Australian government, in behalf of the majlisus Shura of Alharakatul Islamiyya in southern Philippines, we officially inform you that your citizen Warren Rodwell is in our custody and control since he was abducted at Ipil, Sibugay Province, Mindanao Philippines last December 5, 2011 and now facing Islamic sharee’ah,” the Abu Sayyaf said.
“If you have concerned (sic) with your men, we will give you a chance to save his life before it’s too late, as soon as possible time (sic), otherwise he will suffer unusual way of Death,” the group added.
Rodwell was last seen on Facebook and Youtube on Dec 26, 2012, when he delivered a video message “to say that I am alive.” (Watch video below)
Rodwell's kidnappers have also turned to social media for ransom.
In Rodwell's latest picture, the black flag behind him is a symbol used by al-Qaeda – a sign of the apocalypse that would bring about the triumph of Islam. The flag's symbolism is linked to a “narrative that convinces them that they’re part of a divine plan,” according to former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Ali Soufan in his book The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda. (Read: Al-Qaeda's blag flag seized in ASG camp.)
Read the full Facebook post below. It appears in unedited form.
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the Universe. May Allah bestow peace and blessings upon our Leader Muhammad, Leader of those who strive in Allah's way and Imam of the pious. May He also bestow peace and blessings upon his family and his companions, and all those who strive for the Sharee’ah until the Day of judgment.
We the Alharakatul Islamiyya in southern Philippines, Our Jihad will continue with the permission of Allah azza wa jalla, we will raise the flag of Islamic Sharee’ah and we would not be perturbed by the people who dispute with us and also not the people who aggress us, until you witness the dignity and the supremacy in our Ummah, or we will be meeting Allah azza wa jalla while in the advance and not in retreat.
To the Australian government, in behalf of the majlisus Shura of Alharakatul Islamiyya in southern Philippines, we officially inform you that your citizen Warren Rodwell is in our custody and control since he was abducted at Ipil, Sibugay Province, Mindanao Philippines last December 5, 2011 and now facing Islamic sharee’ah, if you have concerned with your men, we will give you a chance to save his life before it’s too late, as soon as possible time, otherwise he will suffer unusual way of Death.
To our brothers in Islam we would like to make it clear that our activities like this are not for personal interests or just to gain money for personal use, let it be known to everyone we are on war against the forces of shaytan in the Philippines, its allies and supporters, and whatever we gain from this war is to be used for our future operations and other necessities.