ZAMBOANGA CITY – A Filipino physician kidnapped by the pro-ISIS group Abu Sayyaf was freed in the southern Philippine province of Sulu after a month in captivity.
Dr Daniel Moreno was recovered by security forces in the town of Indanan late Tuesday. Other reports said members of the Moro National Liberation Front under Yusop Jikiri helped rescue the doctor.
There was no immediate statement from the Western Mindanao Command or the Sulu police force, but photos of Moreno, accompanied by Jikiri and policemen and soldiers went viral on Facebook.
The photos showed the unshaven and frail-looking doctor wearing a pair of denim, sandals and a brown t-shirt and being assisted by Jikiri and soldiers as he walked his way to waiting security forces.
Moreno, who is in his 60s, was snatched in his clinic in the capital town of Jolo just after dusk February 4 in a daring assault carried out by at least four armed men disguised as soldiers.
It was unclear how the gunmen managed to pass through military checkpoints around the town without being detected by soldiers and even policemen. Jolo is under tight security following twin suicide bombings by an Indonesian couple at a local Catholic church in January last year that killed and wounded dozens of civilians and soldiers.
It was unknown if Moreno’s family paid ransom to the Abu Sayyaf which originally demanded P5 million for his safe release.
The militants, who were fighting for the establishment of a caliphate, resorted to kidnappings to fund the purchase of weapons and terror attacks in the restive region dominated by Christians.
The Abu Sayyaf had previously kidnapped foreigners and traders, and even members of the International Committee of the Red Cross and journalists in Sulu, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region. (Zamboanga Post)
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