PH military deploys K9 tracker dogs to hunt terrorists
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine military is set to deploy K9 tracker dogs to Sulu province in Mindanao to help locate the German hostages that the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group threatened to kill in support of the Islamic State (ISIS), armed forces spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc said.
"The chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has directed different units to compose K9 tracking units in order to help locate the Abu Sayyaf bandits who are believed to be holding the German hostages. The intent is to put pressure on them, possibly leading to the release or rescue of the hostages in the pressure," Cabunoc told reporters on Monday, October 6.
A company size K-9 tracking unit composed of 10 teams is scheduled to leave for Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) Tuesday morning, October 7, Cabunoc said.
The two German hostages were interviewed over the radio last week to air their appeal to authorities. The Abu Sayyaf threatened to kill one of them unless a P250-million ($5.62-million, 4.4-million euro) ransom is paid.
The terrorist group also wants Germany to stop aiding the United States in the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, which the Abu Sayyaf has pledged allegiance to. (READ: Abu Sayyaf's German hostages air appeal to authorities)
The Philippine military earlier dispatched an estimated 1,000-plus extra soldiers to Sulu. Together with the tracker dogs, the military aims to put pressure on the Abu Sayyaf, who are believed to be freely moving around the province, and contain them in a smaller area, Cabunoc said.
The tracker dogs will help the troops make sure their movements are accurate, he said.
"The chief of staff has ensured that the primary concern of the AFP is to make these actions as safe as possible for the hostages," Cabunoc added.
He cited an instance in 2000 when military pressure on the Abu Sayyaf forced them to release members of the Jesus Miracle Crusade without a firefight.
"They have been freely roaming around. They are the ones dictating the tempo. We must be the ones dictating the tempo," he said.
The military operation is also meant to rescue the other hostages, according to Cabunoc.
Cabunoc said the military will also continue to work with the local crisis management committee to secure the release of the hostages. – Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com