Abu Sayyaf releases Filipino mother after ransom paid

Businesswoman seized alongside her husband and 8-year-old son, who have not been released

Abu Sayyaf releases Filipino mother after ransom paid

World Bulletin / News Desk

A ISIL-linked militant group has released a woman kidnapped alongside her husband and son earlier this month in the Philippines’ troubled south after her family paid a ransom.

News broadcaster ABS-CBN reported Wednesday that Nora Romoc was released in the majority Muslim island province of Sulu -- an Abu Sayyaf stronghold.

Jerry Labrador, police chief of Payao town, was quoted as saying that security forces later transported her to a military camp in Zamboanga Sibugay on the Zamboanga Peninsula.

On Aug. 5, seven men -- reportedly armed with M16 and M14 rifles -- seized the businesswoman, her husband and their 8-year-old son while they were having dinner in their house in Zamboanga Sibugay, and forced them a motorboat waiting around 600 meters away.

Nora’s sister-in-law, Angelina Romoc, was quoted by ABS-CBN as saying that the family had paid ransom, but she was unsure of the amount.

She added that negotiations for the release of Nora’s husband and son were ongoing.

Western Mindanao Command spokesman Maj. Filemon Tan Jr. could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Col. Zacarias Batalla, 44th Infantry Batallion commanding officer, reiterated the military’s no ransom policy for kidnapping cases, acknowledging that some families chose to negotiate with the bandits.

He said the Romoc family has been pleading with the kidnappers to lower their ransom demand.

Kidnap-for-ransom gangs frequently operate in the Philippines' southern Zamboanga Peninsula and the island provinces of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan.

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.

Earlier this year, the Abu Sayyaf beheaded two Canadian hostages after ransoms failed to be paid. It has threatened to decapitate a Norwegian captured with them in September if a P300-million ($6 million) ransom demand is not met.

Aside from a Norwegian hostage, the group is also holding a Dutch birdwatcher kidnapped nearly four years ago in Tawi-Tawi, three Malaysians and at least five Indonesian sailors as well as some Filipinos.

Since 1991, the group -- 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 province in the Philippines.

The Abu Sayyaf is among two militant groups in the south who have pledged allegiance to ISIL, prompting fears during the stalling of a peace process between the government and the country's biggest Moro group that it could make inroads in a region torn by decades of armed conflict.

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Ağustos 2016, 17:14
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