Kidnapped businessman freed in Sulu

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ZAMBOANGA CITY—A local businessman who was kidnapped here in January was freed by his captors in Sulu on Friday morning, said Senior Supt. Edwin De Ocampo, city police director.

Edgar Fabella, 55, who owns a restaurant in Barangay Maasin here, was freed in Jolo town at around 10:30 a.m.

Fabella, De Ocampo said, was left on his own and tried to catch the Air Philippines flight from Jolo to Zamboanga City.

De Ocampo said authorities in Jolo later managed to take the freed kidnap victim into custody and were just waiting for the family to fetch him home.

“I was informed he was already secured by the authorities there and the family is negotiating some ways on how to bring the victim back to Zamboanga, either by sea or air asset,” he said.

De Ocampo said with Fabella’s release, the police were now left with one case to resolve, that of Ustadz Bashier Mursalon, who also disappeared in January.

But members of Muslim religious groups here believed that the police should look for Mursalon in holding cells operated by various government agencies because government agents had allegedly taken him away.

“If my son-in-law indeed committed unlawful acts, they should present him to a court and have him tried. He should not be punished by abducting him and keeping him off his family’s reach,” Sheikh Almahdi Baginda, Mursalon’s father-in-law, said.

Baginda, also president of the Institute of Quran Wal Hadith of Zamboanga City, said if Mursalon was innocent, he should immediately be released.

He said the Mursalon and Baginda families would not press charges if government agents holding the victim would release him, even if they had shot and wounded him during the abduction.

De Ocampo said they were trying to validate all information being fed by sources, although the Mursalon case is now being handled by the National Bureau of Investigation. Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao

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