World Bulletin / News Desk
A schoolteacher kidnapped by the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group in the southern Philippines and taken to the island province of Sulu has been freed by his captors, the military said Sunday.
Capt. Rowena Muyuela, spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Western Mindanao Command, said in a text message that Russel Bagonoc had been freed in the capital Jolo, and the navy had been sent to get him.
Bagonoc, 22, is the younger brother of Reynadeth Bagonoc-Silvano, 31, both teachers, abducted by gunmen while on their way to Tuburan Elementary School in Zamboanga Sibugay on March 15 this year.
The siblings were taken by their captors to Sulu and reportedly handed over to Abu Sayyaf group.
Silvano was freed after intensified law enforcement operations in Indanan, Parang and Sulu areas last May 14.
Muyuela said in her text that it could not immediately be ascertained if a ransom was paid for the release of the victim but believed the Abu Sayyaf could have been pressured by the on-going operations.
Kidnap-for-ransom gangs frequently operate in Zamboanga Peninsula and the provinces of Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi.
They are known to hand over their captives to the Abu Sayyaf and negotiate for a ransom that, if paid, is shared with the group.
The kidnappers use isolated sea-lanes and coastal areas to grab their victims, who are then held captive in isolated villages in the peninsula.
Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf -- armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles -- has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in a self-determined fight for an independent Islamic province in the Philippines.
It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to have been paid for their release.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Temmuz 2015, 14:55