A Muslim separatist group in the Philippines has said it was responsible for
the kidnapping of 20 people from the remote resort island of Sipadan in
The claim was made by Abu Ahmad, a spokesman for the Abu Sayyaf group, in
a telephone interview with a radio station in Zamboanga, in the southern
There is speculation that the kidnappings might be a diversionary tactic by
the Abu Sayyaf, whose main base is being attacked by the Philippines army.
The authorities became suspicious that the group might be involved after
reports spoke of the kidnappers being Filipinos and of their boat being seen
heading for the Phillipines.
But they said they needed more time to determine whether the group really
was involved because the area is well known for piracy.