ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 21, 2011) – Abu Sayyaf gunmen have freed a kidnapped restaurant owner after almost three months in captivity in the southern Philippines, officials said Friday.
Officials said Nelson Lim was released to the vice mayor of Jolo town, Edsir Tan, shortly before midnight on Thursday. “We have no details how he was released, but Nelson Lim was handed over to Vice Mayor Edsir Tan. We have no reports if ransom was paid,” Army Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, a regional military spokesman, told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.
Lim was kidnapped April 29 by gunmen outside his bungalow in Jolo where he runs the Plaza Panciteria, one of the town’s oldest and popular restaurants. The militants dragged Lim to a waiting van which was found abandoned in the village of Sandah in nearby town of Patikul.
The gang originally demand P5 million for Lim’s safe release. At least 8 gunmen were involved the abduction and one those was Asman Sawadjaan, an Abu Sayyaf sub-leader, police said.
Abu Sayyaf militants also kidnapped Indian national Bijukolara Veetil, 36, who was only visiting the family of his Filipina wife in Patikul town in Sulu on June 23. And the group also seized a Malaysian lizard trader, Mohammad Nasaruddin Bensaidin, 38, in Indanan town in April.
Just recently, gunmen freed a Filipino merchant in Jolo after they paid ransoms to their captors. Two other Filipino fishermen are still being held by the Abu Sayyaf. (Mindanao Examiner)