Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Kidnapped Chinese trader in RP rescued after 19 months in Sayyaf captivity

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 6, 2010) – Police rescued a kidnapped Chinese trader after more than 19 months in Abu Sayyaf captivity in the southern Filipino province of Sulu, officials said Tuesday.

Xili Wu alias Peter Go, a native of Fujian province, was rescued late Monday after commandos clashed with militants in the town of Luuk, a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf who has links with Jemaah Islamiya and al-Qaeda terror organizations, television reports quoting Senior Superintendent Elmer Escosia, the commander of police forces in Sulu, said.

Reports also quoted Escosia as saying that police clashed with the kidnappers in Lambago village at around 8.30 p.m. But attempts by other journalists to get more details about the rescue of Xili were rejected by Escosia for a still unknown reason.

But another police official confirmed that Xili was rescued by commandos and that the foreigner would be brought to Zamboanga City after authorities get information from the Chinese man about his captors led by Commander Saji.

Xili, one of five owners of an appliances store Perlas Trading in Jolo town, was kidnapped in December 2008 by militants. It was then that police discovered that Xili, 28-years old when kidnapped, is a Chinese citizen and so were his four other associates who all assumed Filipino names to be able to secure a business license and operate the store in Jolo.

Xili’s group had lived in Jolo since early 2008. His four business partners fled Jolo weeks after the kidnapping. Police had previously tagged Albader Parad for the kidnapping. Parad’s group originally demanded P25 million ransoms, but lowered this to P10 million for Xili’s safe release.

Parad - tagged as the mastermind of the kidnappings of three international Red Cross workers in Sulu in 2009 and behind for deadly terrorist attacks in the province - was one of six Abu Sayyaf leaders killed in military operations in February this year.

The Abu Sayyaf, which the police and military claimed has more than 300 gunmen, has been blamed for a string of high-profile kidnappings for ransom, including of Americans and Europeans. It's on a U.S. list of terrorist organizations with links to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya. (Mindanao Examiner)

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