Sailor struggles to move on following Abu Sayyaf abduction

T.N.Alagesh

MARAN: It has been almost a month since Abu Sayyaf kidnap victim, Mohd Ridzuan Ismail, was freed after spending more than eight months in captivity, but the 33-year-old is struggling to move on.

The father of three, who returned to his hometown in Felda Jengka 7, here, on April 19, wants to spend quality time with his siblings before making his next move.

Ridzuan, who was rescued on March 27, said he remained traumatised and even though weeks had passed, his captivity lingered in his mind.

The former sailor said he decided to leave Tawau with his wife, children and mother-in-law to allow him to rest and clear his mind over the ordeal.

“My last trip to Jengka 7 was in February 2013 to attend my mother’s funeral. I then returned to Sabah due to my job. Since then, I did not make any trips home and only spoke to my siblings by phone.

“I’m interested in joining the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and want to prepare the documents, which are mostly kept here (Jengka 7), before submitting my application,” he said, adding that he was hoping for some good news about the possibility of joining MMEA.

The eldest of seven siblings, Ridzuan said only time would tell how fast he could recover from his ordeal, but he had faith that he would return to normalcy soon, especially with the support of his family.

Since he arrived home on Wednesday, he said he had been receiving a steady stream of visitors and well-wishers at his place.

“I’m touched by their concern and encouragement. I was informed that during my ordeal, the villagers and my family members had conducted solat hajat and doa selamat for my safe return.

“I believe that it was through their prayers that my friends and I managed to return safely.

“I’m grateful for all they
have done.”

His brother, Raisuddin, said: “Ridzuan is recovering and we don’t want to ask him about what had happened or the Abu Sayyaf.

“He has grown thin and prefers to spend most of his time playing with his children.

“My siblings want him to stay closer to home, but we will let him decide on his future.

“We are hoping his MMEA application will be successful.”

Ridzuan was among five Malaysians who were reported missing after their tugboat was found abandoned in Dent Haven, off Lahad Datu, on July 18 last year. They were later rescued by Philippine security forces after Abu Sayyaf members abandoned them.