BASILAN, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 27, 2008) – Three people kidnapped in the southern Philippine island of Basilan have been released late Sunday by their captors, police said.
Police said the trio had been freed on a remote village in the town of Al-Barka, a known stronghold of the Muslim separatist rebels Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
It was not immediately if ransom was paid in exchange for the freedom of Ronnie Ando, Wilma Sumergido and her son Michael, who were kidnapped July 20 on a highway near Lamitan town.
Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad identified the two of the victims as Vilma Ayson and Wilma Suharludo.
Senior Superintendent Salik Macapantar, Basilan police chief, said the three hostages were freed at around 10.50 p.m. to a village chieftain, Asbie Alkie, who negotiated with the kidnappers. “They are all freed and we are glad it’s over,” he told the Mindanao Examiner.
Six people, including two village officials, were kidnapped in Basilan in recent weeks and four of them had been ransomed off while police rescued the remaining hostages. The kidnappings have been blamed to the Abu Sayyaf and rogue members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. (Mindanao Examiner)