Two Kidnapped Filipinos Escape In Sulu Province

December 18, 2007 at 11:04 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

Policemen escort two escaped men in the southern RP province of Sulu. (Mindanao Examiner Photo/Nickee Butlangan)

SULU, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 18, 2007) – Two Filipinos seized in the southern province of Sulu had escaped from their captors and security forces on Monday mounted fresh operation to capture Abu Sayyaf militants tagged as behind the kidnappings, officials said.
Officials said the two men, Rolando Benitez and Edmar Molina, escaped late Sunday in the village of Wanni in Patikul town, five days after they were seized in the neighboring town of Patikul.
It was unknown how the two men were able to escaped, but Maj. Gen. Reuben Rafael, commander of military forces in Sulu, said troops were pursuing the kidnappers in the hinterlands.
“The victims are now in our custody and were already examined by doctors. They are okay,” Rafael told the Mindanao Examiner by telephone from Sulu, about 950 kilometers south of Manila.
He said soldiers were tracking down the militants, who originally demanded five million pesos ransom in exchange for the safe release of the two men, who are workers of Panglima town mayor Munib Estino in Sulu.
The two had been recovered by soldiers, sent to rescue them, Rafael said. “The kidnappers may have also been pressured by the rescue operation, They were constantly moving from one hideout to another and this gave the victims a chance to escape,” he said.
Other reports said the two men sought the help of a villager, who turned out to be a member of the former rebel group Moro National Liberation Front, and informed police about the escape.
The two were driving a jeep in Patikul when gunmen flagged down the vehicle and seized them. The gunmen also took their jeep.
Estino is an influential politician in Sulu. It was unclear whether the abduction was connected to a feud or not or has anything to do with the politician or simply for money. Two of the kidnappers have been identified as Kirrih Hamid and Juhurim Husein. (Nickee Butlangan)

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