Here’s a strange one. Have you heard that the Japanese are looking for a couple of World War II soldiers, both in their mid- to late-eighties, who may still be alive and in the Philippines? Well, some reports have indicated that Islamic jihadists from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have the old men and are demanding that Japan play the dhimmi and pay for their ransom. Japanese officials deny this. From the Gulf Times, with thanks to Skeetstreet:
GENERAL SANTOS: A Japanese embassy official denied yesterday that guerrillas had demanded a ransom for two former World War II soldiers reported to be hiding near this southern Philippines city.
“We have no such information on guerrillas,” the Japanese embassy’s press attache, Shuhei Ogawa, told reporters when questioned about a report in a Tokyo newspaper.
Asked if any money had been requested in return for the two soldiers, Ogawa said, “No, nothing”.
He was commenting after Mainichi Shimbun reported yesterday that Philippine rebels are demanding $232,000 ransom in exchange for “delivering” the two men to Japanese authorities.
Mainichi cited a Japanese businessman who reported their presence.
The newspaper did not say if the pair were being held against their will and did not identify the rebel group.
On Saturday Ogawa said Philippines national police had warned Japanese diplomats, who are in this Mindanao island city to try to confirm reports about the old soldiers, not to go into the mountains because of the rebel threat.
The area is home to both the communist New People’s Army and the Muslim separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other Muslim extremist groups. Muslim rebels are known to have conducted kidnappings for ransom.
But the MILF on Sunday said it had information on where the old soldiers were and offered to act as a go-between for the Japanese government.
“We would like to know what help the Japanese government want: Do they want us to assist in locating the men or assistance to bring them down from the mountains?” Eid Kabalu, MILF spokesman, told AFP in nearby Cotobato city where the MILF is holding a major conference on the future of peace talks with the Philippine government…