World Bulletin / News Desk
The Philippines military has rescued nine Muslim road construction workers just six hours after they were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf, according to a military official.
Col. Rolando Joselito D Bautista, commander of the military's joint task group in Basilan, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday that the kidnappers had been forced to release the workers after soldiers closed in on them around 4.40 p.m. Monday (8.30 a.m. GMT) in the remote village of Kaumpamatsaken, some 46 kilometers (28.5 miles) from Basilan's provincial capital Isabela.
Basilan is one of the militant group's remaining strongholds in the country's Muslim south.
The nine men, who were building a road in Sumisip district, were seized around 9.20 a.m. in the village of Benembengan.
The gunmen ordered the men off of a government truck and then led them off at gunpoint through the surrounding jungle.
Bautista said marines and army troops belonging to the joint task group pursued the group after the abduction, finding the truck abandoned and torched by the Abu Sayyaf in Kaumpamatsaken.
Pushed further into the jungle, the soldiers found the nine workers.
He said the militants, led by sub commander Juhaibel Alamsirul alias Abu Kik, had left the men behind in order to avoid being trapped by the hundreds of pursuing troops.
Bautista said the workers were brought to the headquarters of the Army's 64th Infantry Battalion for a medical check up and debriefing prior to their release.
"Our soldiers shall assist victims in going back to their respective homes just to ensure their safety from the Abu Sayyaf," Col. Bautista said.
Basilan is the birthplace of Abu Sayyaf founder Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani, who was killed in a gunbattle with police Dec. 18, 1998.
Upon his death his brother, Khadaffy Janjalani took control of the organization.
The Abu Sayyaf 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 Islamic province in the Philippines.
It has been designated a "terrorist" organization by the Philippines, United Nations, Australia, Canada, the UAE, the United Kingdom and the United States.
It is notorious for beheading victims in cases where ransoms are not paid for their release.Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Eylül 2015, 17:11