Abu Sayyaf frees hostage in Sulu
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Police authorities on Tuesday said a kidnap victim was released by the Abu Sayyaf in Patikul, Sulu and is now under the custody of the military in Sulu for debriefing.
Chief Superintendent Billy Beltran, the Western Mindanao police chief, said Faizal Hambali, a resident of Sitio Palar in Barangay Gandasuli in Patikul, was released by his abductors on May 5.
But Beltran said the release was only confirmed when Hambali was brought to the Joint Task Force Sulu by his relatives on Monday.
“We are hoping to secure more information as to the whereabouts of the rest,” Beltran said.
Hambali was kidnapped in Barangay Buhanginan, along with Police Officer 3 Bennie Rose Alvarez, Police Officer 1 Dinah Gumahad and a certain Jacosalem on April 29.
On Monday, three Abu Sayyaf terrorists were killed while seven members of the 21st Infantry Battalion were wounded in a clash in Patikul.
Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, the commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said the soldiers were trying to rescue Alvarez and Gumahad when they clashed with the terrorists in Sitio Sangay in Barangay Buhanginan around 6:14 a.m.
The two police officers were detailed at the Western Mindanao Police Office here but went to Patikul to visit some friends.
Sobejana said the Abu Sayyaf terrorists who kidnapped the police officers were under the group of Idang Susukan and Almujer Yadah. The group numbered about 70, Sobejana said.
“Other forces nearby reinforced the engaged troops and pursue the withdrawing Abu Sayyaf. Artillery fires were delivered while attack helicopters provided close air support,” Sobejana added.
He identified the slain Abu Sayyaf terrorists by their first names only as Moktar, Julhadi and Surayb.
“JTF Sulu forces will not stop its focused military operations until all kidnapped victims are safely rescued and the Abu’s strength is reduced to an insignificant level,” Sobejana said.
With Hambali’s release, Beltran said the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu still holds 13 hostages, including the two police officers. /muf
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