ZAMBOANGA CITY – Three of four Filipino construction workers, held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf have escaped on Friday from their captors in the southern province of Sulu, officials said.
Officials identified the trio as Felimon Cordero, Jayson Baylosis and Joel Adanza, but the fate of Edmund Ramos is unknown. No other details were made available by officials, but this was also confirmed by the local government, citing a report by army Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of an anti-terror task force in Sulu.
Other reports said the trio escaped while their captors were praying, and ran until they reached a village in Talipao town where civilians spotted them and quickly informed the local police.
The victims, all natives of Zamboanga City, were kidnapped in July in Patikul town and the Abu Sayyaf had threatened to execute the hostages on Thursday if their families or the government fail to pay millions of pesos in ransoms.
There was no immediate statement from the Western Mindanao Command, but the daring escape occurred a day after soldiers clashed with suspected Abu Sayyaf militants in Kalingalan Caluang town that left 2 Marines and five gunmen dead. Six other militants were also captured by soldiers following 4 hours of fierce clashes in the village of Pang.
Rear Admiral Rene Medina, the regional naval chief, said the operations continue against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu despite the involvement of Marine forces in fighting local ISIS militants in the war-torn city of Marawi since May 23.
“Despite its heavy involvement in the Marawi City siege, we assure that Fleet-Marine Forces will continue to exercise vigilance in the Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi area to protect its people from those who threaten the peace, stability and development of the region,” he said.
Authorities have blamed the Abu Sayyaf for the spate of ransom kidnappings and terrorism in the southern Philippines. The group is still holding at least 20 hostages, mostly foreigners. (Mindanao Examiner)
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