ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 13, 2011) – A Filipino teenager who was reported kidnapped has been freed on Wednesday in the southern province of Basilan, authorities said.
It said Nico Sebastian was released near Tuburan town after two months since he was reported kidnapped. The 16-year old student was reported missing in May, but a man who phoned his family said Sebastian was being held for ransom and told them to pay up P2.5 million.
No other details were made available by the police about Sebastian’s release and there were reports that the kidnapping was staged to get money from whoever would negotiate for his freedom.
Police previously suspected the Abu Sayyaf as behind the kidnapping. The group is also holding a resort owner, Larry delos Santos, in Basilan since his kidnapping in December. The group demanded P5 million ransoms from his family, but there were also unconfirmed reports that the victim had died in captivity.
Last month, a kidnapped engineer Virgilio Fernandez was freed by the Abu Sayyaf in exchange for a huge ransom after holding him for more than two weeks in Basilan.
Fernandez, who works for MACE Construction, was kidnapped on June 3 in Lamitan City and released by his captors in the town of Al Barka. Authorities later told the media that Fernandez escaped from the Abu Sayyaf. (Mindanao Examiner)