Sunday, June 19, 2011

Kidnapped engineer escapes from Sayyaf in Basilan province

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Jun 19, 2011) – A Filipino engineer kidnapped by the militant group Abu Sayyaf has allegedly escaped from his captors in the southern province of Basilan, police said Sunday.

Police said Virgilio Fernandez, who works for MACE Construction, was kidnapped on June 3 in Lamitan City and recovered Sunday in the town of Al Barka.

“He is okay and is reunited with his family,” Chief Inspector Edwin Placio, the chief of police in Lamitan City, told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

Placio said government militias guarding a rubber plantation spotted Fernandez walking alone in the village of Guinanta. “Fenandez claimed he had escaped from his captors and was trying to find his way when spotted by government militias and handed over to us,” Placio said.

The military tagged militants Muhmin Jamiri and Musana Jamiri as behind the kidnapping of Fernandez.

Jamiri’s group was also behind the kidnapping in December of a resort owner, Larry delos Santos, who is still being held captive for ransom. The militants demanded P20 million for the victim’s freedom.

The group is also suspected as behind the kidnapping in May of a 16-year old student, Nico Sebastian, in Basilan’s Tuburan town. Sebastian was first reported missing by his family after he failed to come home.

But a man phoned Sebastian’s family to say that the teenager is being held for ransom and would only release the hostage in exchange for P2.5 million. (Mindanao Examiner)

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