Thursday, September 15, 2011

Kidnapped Filipino boy freed

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 15, 2011) – Kidnappers have freed early Thursday a nine-year old boy they held for six months in the southern Philippines, authorities said.

It said the boy’s family negotiated with the kidnappers and paid ransom for the safe release of Randelle Talania, who was kidnapped in March in the town of Titay in Zamboanga Sibugay province.

The kidnappers, who were believed to be members of the Abu Sayyaf and Moro Islamic Liberation Front, originally demanded P10 million in exchange for the boy’s freedom, but it was unknown how much ransom was paid by the family.

The boy, son of a local village chieftain, was allegedly brought to Basilan province during his captivity and spirited back by kidnappers to his hometown where he was released at dawn.

The Abu Sayyaf is still holding an Indian national Bijukolara Veetil, 36, who was kidnapped in June while visiting the parents of his Filipino wife in Patikul town in Sulu province.

A Malaysian lizard trader, Mohammad Nasaruddin Bensaidin, 38, from Kuala Lumpur, was also seized in Sulu’s Indanan town on April. The militants are also holding a Japanese treasure hunter, Katayama Mamaito, who was abducted in Sulu’s Pangutaran town in July last year.

The group also seized two fishermen, Renato Panisales and Wennie Ferrer – all employees of the Mega Fishing Corporation in Zamboanga City - at sea off Sulu in March. Their companion, Jonald Ocsimar, was freed in July after his family paid P300,000 ransom.

In August, Abu Sayyaf militants snatched a government midwife, Evangeline Taverisma, 55, in Tagbak village on Indanan town also in Sulu province. She was on her way to report for work when seized by gunmen whose leader was identified as Nasir Timbang.

Another faction of the Abu Sayyaf group is also holding a US woman, Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, 50, and her son Kevin Eric Lunsmann, 14, including a Filipino nephew Romnick Jackaria, 19, after snatching them from a beach house on Tictabon Island in Zamboanga City.

The hostages are believed to be in Basilan, just several nautical miles south of Zamboanga. (Mindanao Examiner)

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