ZAMBOANGA CITY – Abu Sayyaf rebels have freed Sunday a three-year old boy they kidnapped in March last year in Zamboanga del Sur province in southern Philippines, officials said.
Officials said the boy – kidnapped last March 31 in Pitogo town- was recovered by a Muslim villager who spotted him walking alone in the village of Buanza in Sulu’s Indanan town. He was handed over to the military in the town and immediately brought to hospital for check up.
The boy’s family has been contacted by authorities as social worker took custody of the child in Jolo town.
There was no immediate statement from the boy’s family about his release, but he was kidnapped along with Zynielle Jay Garban, 3, and their 17-year old nanny, Ledegie Tomarong, who had been freed in July last year.
The rebels took the trio after failing to kidnap a bakery owner in Pitogo town. Zynielle was killed after being shot during a firefight between policemen and the kidnappers.
The release of the boy also coincided with the capture of an Abu Sayyaf rebel, who has been named as Haber, in Indanan town in Sulu, one of 5 provinces under the troubled Muslim autonomous region.
Haber alias Abu Qudama was allegedly involved in the kidnappings of 21 mostly European holidaymakers in the posh Malaysian resort island of Sipadan in 2000.
Authorities have blamed the Abu Sayyaf for the spate of terrorism and kidnappings for ransom in southern Philippines. The rebels also pledged allegiance with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. (E. Dumaboc)
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