ILIGAN CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Mar. 22, 2011) – Gunmen have freed a Muslim couple they kidnapped in the southern Philippine province of Lanao del Sur, army officials said on Monday.
Officials said the duo was released over the weekend without ransom after military and police authorities sent warning of an impending operation to free the hostages - Akmad Sangka Datumanong, village chieftain of Dadu in Lanao del Sur’s Mulondo town; and his wife Baira.
The two were kidnapped on March 24 in the village of Kalanganan in Pantar town and the gunmen originally demanded P1.2 million from their family in exchange for their freedom.
Security forces have moved near the gang’s hideout when the kidnappers released the hostages and fled from the area.
“Reconnaissance team were given information by residents in the village of Mamaan in Piagapo town and revealed about the presence of the kidnapped victims, and we have warned the kidnappers to release the two hostages and they were freed unharmed,” said Colonel Daniel Lucero, commander of the 103rd Infantry Brigade.
Lucero said the duo was kidnapped to force them to pay their debts to the gang’s leader. “It was revealed that the victims have unpaid debts to their abductors,” he said. (Mindanao Examiner)