ZAMBOANGACITY – Abu Sayyaf rebels on Thursday freed 2 Filipino fishermen in the southern Philippine province of Sulu.
The duo – Esteban Janamjam and Dolcesimo Almires – were recovered in the village of Tagbak, a known lair of the Abu Sayyaf in Indanan town. It was unknown whether their family paid ransoms or not.
Both men were seized by rebels in October last year off Pangutaran town, also in Sulu – one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.
There was no immediate statement from the police, but the military claimed the men were allegedly rescued by soldiers after intercepting them from 2 Abu Sayyaf guards who managed to escape.
The Filipinos were then taken to a military base in Jolo town where doctors examined them. They were also interviewed by military operatives.
Just recently, rebels also released a South Korean and a Filipino sailor they kidnapped off Tawi-Tawi province after a private ransom negotiation.
The hostages – Park Chul Hong and Glen Alindajao – were freed to the former rebel group Moro National Liberation Front in Sulu and fetched by presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza.
The duo was also kidnapped in October after rebels hijacked their cargo ship Dongbang Giant while it was sailing near the Sabah border. The Abu Sayyaf had originally demanded at least P50 million for the safe release of the hostages, but Dureza insisted no ransom was paid to the rebels.
The Abu Sayyaf is also holding over a dozen Malaysian, Vietnamese and Indonesian sailors in the restive region. (Mindanao Examiner)