ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 16, 2011) – Abu Sayyaf militants have freed one of three fishing crew they kidnapped in the southern Philippines, police said on Saturday.
Police said Jonald Ocsimar was released this week on a village called Buhanginan in Patikul town in Sulu province after his family reportedly paid P300,000 ransom. But there were no reports about the fate of two others - Renato Panisales and Wennie Ferrer - all three men are employees of the Mega Fishing Corporation in Zamboanga City.
The Abu Sayyaf seized the crew at sea in the Sulu archipelago on Marso 19 and sought P12 million ransoms for their safe release, but the company rejected the demands forcing Ocsimar's family to borrow and raised the money it paid to the kidnappers for fear they would kill the hostage.
Ocsimar was freed on a village which hosts a Philippine military base where US soldiers helping local troops fight the Abu Sayyaf, but the release of the hostage was not detected by security forces.
The military was not even aware that Ocsimar was freed until the police made the announcement.
Just recently, gunmen also kidnapped a trader and his wife in a lodging house in Sulu's Jolo town and fled with their victims - Jun Patronal and Jocelyn Patronal - who are engaged in small time money lending and trading foam mattressed and small appliances.
The couple is from Batangas province, police said. It also identified the victims as Jose Batronel, 57, at Rosely, 37.
The Abu Sayyaf is also holding an Indian national Bijukolara Veetil, 36, who was kidnapped in June 23 while visiting his Filipino wife in Patikul town. A Malaysian lizard trader, Mohammad Nasaruddin Bensaidin, 38, from Kuala Lumpur, was also kiodnapped in Sulu's Indanan town on April.
In Zamboanga City, gunmen also snatched a US woman, Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, 50, and her son Kevin Eric Lunsmann, 14, including a Filipino nephew Romnick Jackaria, 19, from a beach house on Tictabon Island.
The local government have imposed a news blackout on the kidnapping and ordered police and military not to issue any statement about the incident. But local media, quoting unidentified police sources, reported that the kidnappers demanded $10 million ransoms for the safe release of the US hostages. (Mindanao Examiner)