Woah! This is scary! Manny Pacquiao was recently targeted by Islamist terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, who planned to kidnap him, Philippines president Benigno Aquino III said this week.
The group allegedly beheaded a Canadian hostage this week, after it didn’t get the ransom it demanded. And now, news has surfaced saying they were planning to kidnap the boxing star.
“They allegedly even hatched plots to kidnap Manny Pacquiao or one of his children, as well as my sister Kris or one of her children, with the plan to use them in bargaining for the release of their cohorts,” Aquino said.
Following reports of the threat, Pacquiao has beefed up security for he and his family. “I was alarmed when he announced the Abu Sayyaf wanted to kidnap me. I’m surprised because all Filipinos are my friends. I love them, especially the Muslims,” Pac-Man said in a statement. “We asked for security, protection for my kids, my family to make sure they are safe.”
Pacquiao went on to criticize Aquino for not alerting him personally before going public with the news. “If it came from an intelligence report, it should have been kept secret and need not be announced. And why just now? We have to study this,” he said.
According to the AP, Abu Sayyaf is seeking independence for a province in the southern Philippines, and hatched a number of terrorist attacks to make its point. In addition to kidnappings, they wanted to set off bombs in metropolitan Manila to try to get funding from the Islamic State, but the plans were uncovered, Aquino said.
Pacquiao retired from boxing earlier this month, follow a definitive decision victory over Timothy Bradley. He is currently running for a senate seat in the Philippines’ national elections.