“We were treated like slaves and often threatened that we would be beheaded,” said two of the five Malaysian fishermen who were kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf militant group in July last year.
Tayudin Anjut, 45, and Abdul Rahim Summas, 63, recounted the harrowing moments soon after arriving at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang last night.
Together with three other Malaysian fishermen, Tayudin and Abdul Rahim were held captive by the militant group before they were saved by Philippine security forces in the south of the republic last Thursday.
Tayudin said their nightmare began when as the crew of a tug boat, they were taken by the Abu Sayyaf group in the waters of Dent Haven, off Lahad Datu on July 18 last year.
Tayudin and Abdul Rahim who now have health problems including not being able to walk and see properly said they were often tortured like slaves and only given leftover food by the militants and had to drink sea water.
“We were ordered to cook for them, and they only gave us leftovers to eat…if there was nothing left over, then there would be no food for us.
“Our eyes were often covered and our hands tied…we were often moved from place to place at night in the jungles,” he said in tears to reporters in Kuala Lumpur, today.
Tayudin and Abdul Rahim met Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor to thank them personally for the government’s endless efforts to save them.
“We are very grateful to the Malaysian government and the Philippine authorities for saving us. During the eight months (in captivity), we never gave up hope and believed that we would be saved one day,” he said.
Tayudin said last Thursday, he and Abdul Rahim were taken by villagers in a boat before they were handed over to the Philippine authorities.
“That night, we did not know that we were being saved, just like our three friends,” he said.
Tayudin said he and Abdul Rahim were still traumatised and had to use wheelchairs as they were unable to walk after being tortured. Both are still being treated at Selayang Hospital before they are allowed to return to Sabah.
They also have bladder problems resulting from being forced to drink sea water.
The two men together with their family members were at the prime minister’s residence with Kelab Putera 1Malaysia president Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim.
Tayudin was welcomed back by his wife Rustia Sultan, 47, and their children, Nurerin Farisha, 13, and Mohd Fahirin, 5, while Abdul Rahim was met by his daughter Rasniyati, 40, and several other family members, who all could not hold back their tears when they met.
Tayudin said the kidnappers allowed them to contact their families several times, but each time, they also threatened to kill them.
Abdul Rahim who also suffers from high blood pressure was weak and complained of pain throughout his body, saying he could not see clearly. – Bernama