Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kidnappers free hostage in Southern Philippines

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / October 15, 2009) – Kidnappers have freed a 54-year old Filipino after releasing his wife and son two days earlier in the southern Philippines, officials said Thursday.

Officials said Felix Gayon, 54, who works for the Mindanao State University, was released on Wednesday in Lanao del Sur’s Saguiran town.

The trio was seized October 10 by seven gunmen while traveling in a pick-up truck in Marawi City and held them until the woman, Editha Gayon, 47, and her son, Mark Lester, 17, were freed unharmed also in the same town, said Army spokeswoman, First Lieutenant Marilou Ballena.

Ballena said no ransom was paid to the gunmen and that the military and local politicians exerted efforts to secure the freedom of the victims. “Mr Felix Gayon was immediately brought at headquarters of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade where he was reunited with his family,” the spokeswoman said without elaborating further.

No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of the trio.

Other reports said private negotiators allegedly paid a still unspecified amount of ransom in exchange for the freedom of the three hostages.

Police insisted that no ransom was paid and that the kidnappers took the patriarch and his family thinking he was a city official. (With a report from Merlyn Manos)

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