monique strydom

the sipadan kidnapping 2000

It is Easter Sunday morning, 23 April 2000. It is the second day of her scuba diving holiday in Malaysia. Monique is looking forward to ten more glorious days of diving, including the famous Barracuda Point.

Little did she know that in a few hours her life will never be the same again.

23 APRIL Twenty one people are kidnapped from a scuba diving resort on Sipadan Island. They include eleven staff members from Malaysia and the Philippines, three Germans, two French, two Fins, one Lebanese and two South Africans. The group are transported with two small boats for hundreds of kilometers to the Philippine Island of Jolo. The Abu Sayyaf, a radical Islamic group, take responsibility.

2 MAY Heavy fighting breaks out between the terrorists and the Philippine military, with the hostages trapped in the middle. This marks the beginning of many attacks and running for their lives.

9 MAY European and Libyan negotiators join the negotiations.

12 JUNE : The Philippine government stops all negotiations with a "cooling off" period.

24 JUNE : The first hostage is released - he is from Malaysia.

1 JULY : A group of missionaries from the Jesus Miracle Crusaders is also taken hostage when they enter the camp to visit the hostages.

2 JULY : A German reporter is taken hostage.

9 JULY : A French television crew of three are taken hostage.

14 JULY : Another Malaysian hostage is released.

17 JULY : An elderly German female hostage is released.

21 JULY : Four Malaysian hostages are released.

24 JULY : Four Pilipino reporters are taken hostage and released five days later.

27 JULY : The German reporter is released.

5 AUGUST : It is reported that large ransoms have been paid for the releases.

14 AUGUST : The Libyan leader, Col Qadhafi, sends his plane in anticipation of more releases. The negotiations come to a standstill admits fears of more military attacks.

16 AUGUST : A Pilipino woman is released.

20 AUGUST : Three Malaysian hostages are released.

27 AUGUST : Two French women, one Lebanese woman, one German man and one South African woman are released.

28 AUGUST : One South African man is released.

29 AUGUST : The Abu Sayyaf threatens to behead hostages.

29 AUGUST : The last group of hostages arrive in Libya to meet Col Qadhafi and to be handed over to their respective governments.

30 AUGUST : The Strydoms arrive in South Africa at Waterkloof Airforce Base.

31 AUGUST : The Strydoms are officially welcomed back in South Africa by President Thabo Mbeki and also, in private, by Nelson Mandela.

9 SEPTEMBER : Two Finnish, a German and a French hostage are released.

2002 : The last remaining hostage is released.