Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Three kidnapped Zamboanga teachers freed

BASILAN, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 23, 2009) – Police forces rescued Wednesday three government teachers after more than six months in captivity in the southern Philippine province of Basilan, officials told the Mindanao Examiner.

Officials said the hostages - Noemi Mandi, Jocelyn Enriquez and Jocelyn Inion - were rescued in separate places in the towns of Tipo-Tipo and Ungkaya Pukan.

The three teachers of the Bangkaw-Bangkaw Elementary School in Zamboanga Sibugay province were kidnapped March 13 while on their way home in Naga town.

“This is the result of a close coordination between police forces in Western Mindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and long intelligence work. We got the teachers without bloodshed,” said Chief Superintendent Salik Macapantar, the Chief of the Directorial Staff of the ARMM police force.

Macapantar said Mandi and Enriquez were rescued together in the village of Bangkuang in Tipo-Tipo town, while Inion was rescued in Kabangkalan village in nearby Unkaya Pukan town.

He gave no details about the rescue, but said police forces were pursuing the kidnappers. “The Abu Sayyaf was behind the kidnappings of the three teachers,” he said.

The kidnappers originally demanded ten million pesos ransom in exchange for the safe release of the teachers. The freed hostages were brought to Zamboanga City from Basilan.

In January, Abu Sayyaf militants also kidnapped three teachers - Janette de los Reyes, Freires Quizon and Rafael Mayonado in Zamboanga City and held them in Basilan province and freed four months later after private negotiators paid millions of pesos in ransom. (Mindanao Examiner)

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