3 workers escape from Sayyaf
ZAMBOANGA CITY—Three of four residents of this city kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf escaped from their captors on Thursday hours after the crime group threatened to behead them if a P3 million ransom was not delivered.
Rear Admiral Rene Medina, head of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao Command, said the three captives—Jayson Pon Baylosis, Joel De Mesa Adanza and Filemon Francisco Guerrero Jr.—were spotted by residents of Kagay, a village in Talipao town, Sulu, where they were taken by Abu Sayyaf.
A fourth captive, Edmundo Ramos, was still in the hands of Abu Sayyaf.
The four, all construction workers and residents of Tumaga village here, were snatched on July 16 by Abu Sayyaf while on the job for the renovation of the Sulu provincial sports complex in the village of Bangkal in Patikul town.
The kidnappings took place some 10 hours before President Duterte came to visit Sulu.
Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, head of the multiagency Joint Task Force Sulu, said the three escaped captives took advantage of the military operations against their captors, led by a certain Almujer Yadah.
Away from stronghold
Sobejana, citing the escaped captives, said the victims and their captors were forced to move around by the military operations “away from Abu Sayyaf stronghold where they do not get any community support anymore.”
“We lost two brave Marines in trying to rescue them,” Medina said on the phone referring to the military operations to rescue the four hostages.
Government soldiers on a mission to rescue the four construction workers clashed with Abu Sayyaf members in Sulu, leaving two soldiers and five Abu Sayyaf members dead.
The three captives found a chance to escape on Thursday afternoon while their captors were in the middle of their afternoon prayers, said Sobejana.
They ran until they reached the village of Kagay where they were helped by residents and turned over to authorities, according to Medina.
Myla Baylosis, wife of Jason Baylosis, earlier told reporters that the Abu Sayyaf kept on calling her and other relatives of the captives, threatening to execute her husband and his three companions.
On Wednesday, a Facebook page named “Striking Group” being used by Abu Sayyaf, posted a photo of the captives kneeling while their captors stood behind them wielding automatic rifles. Abu Sayyaf repeated its demand for ransom in the post.
Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, Western Mindanao Command spokesperson, said the clash that gave the three captives their chance to escape had also wounded a soldier who had been initially taken to a hospital in Jolo, the Sulu capital, and transferred to a hospital in this city.
The military did not identify the slain and wounded soldiers. Government forces recovered at least six guns from the clash site.
In an Associated Press report, Sobejana, who is also provincial military commander in Sulu, said soldiers clashed with at least 30 Abu Sayyaf men during a mission to rescue hostages of the crime group that included 15 foreigners.
According to Sobejana, the crime group separated the hostages, handing them over to different Abu Sayyaf leaders. It was not clear which captives were being held by which Abu Sayyaf group.
Last month, the military retrieved the decapitated bodies of two Vietnamese crewmen who were kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf last year. —JULIE S. ALIPALA
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.