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PAGADIAN CITY – Bandits have freed Monday four kidnapped Filipino loggers in Sirawai town in the southern Philippine province of Zamboanga del Norte, officials said.

Officials said the victims, Jomar Maglangit, Jomar Mantangan, Roger Jung-an and Raymond Purisima, were recovered by villagers after their captors released them. The town’s mayor, Gamar Janihim, contacted the military and told them the hostages had been recovered and immediately handed them to soldiers.

The hostages were freed following a clash between troops and bandits on March 7 in Sirawai that killed the fifth hostage, Mario Rosales.

The loggers were seized on March 3 in the town’s hinterlands and the kidnappers headed by Jamilon Wahab Tukalan and Bating Lumiguis originally demanded P10 million for the freedom of the hostages and eventually lowered this to P75,000.

Major General Roseller Murillo, commander of the Joint Task Force Zampelan, said Janihim had contacted the soldiers from the 42nd Infantry Battalion and turned over the four hostages who were found by residents of Libucon village. The loggers are all residents of Sirawai town.

It was not immediately known whether the gunmen are members of a rebel in the province, a known lair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. (Mindanao Examiner)


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