Kidnapped mayor from Zamboanga Sibugay town freed
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – (UPDATED) Sulu-based gunmen on Tuesday freed Mayor Gemma Adana of Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay, after holding her in captivity for over six months, a military officer said.
Navy Commander Roy Vincent Trinidad, chief of staff of the Naval Forces in Western Mindanao, said Adana had “been released” and was turned over to Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan II.
Trinidad said Tan informed the Joint Task Group Sulu that around 6:50 a.m. that Adana “was brought to his residence by concerned local officials and religious elders of Indanan.”
Brig. Gen. Allan Arrojado, commander of the Joint Task Group Sulu, said Adana was later turned over to them and was brought to the trauma hospital in Jolo for medical check-up.
Arrojado said Adana was to be transported to this city so she could be reunited with her family.
He said no ransom was paid to the kidnappers, who were said to have demanded P100 million in exchange for the release of the kidnapped mayor.
“Initial information revealed that her captors were exhausted due to the intense military and police pressure. The group believed that releasing any of the kidnap victims will ease military pressure against them,” Arrojado said.
Adana was inside her home in Barangay Taytay Manubo in Naga town when armed men barged in and forcibly took her around9:15 p.m. of April 6.
Mayor Jesus Lim of the nearby town of Salug in Zamboanga del Norte was the first to confirm the kidnapping of the executive.
Lim said the kidnappers fled with Adana on small wooden vessels.
A few days after the abduction, Col. Rolando Bautista, commander of the Army’s 104th Infantry Brigade based in Basilan, said Adana was initially brought to Basilan before the kidnappers, whom he said belonged to a faction of the Abu Sayyaf, moved her to Sulu.
Bautista claimed that the bandit group wanted P100 million in exchange for Adana’s liberty.
The Abu Sayyaf is a ragtag band of self-styled Islamists with links to some Southeast Asian terror networks.
The group was also suspected of being behind the recent abduction of Italian Rolando del Torchio from Dipolog City and several other persons.
The Abu Sayyaf funds its operation by kidnapping and other criminal activities.
In the past, it beheaded victims for failing to cash in on them, including Dapitan City village chair Rodolfo Boligao, who was killed in August. SFM
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