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Nation

Gov’t checking photo of 2 Abu captives

Roel Pareño - The Philippine Star

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Police and military intelligence agents are verifying a picture of the Abu Sayyaf bandits’ two German captives, posted on the website of a television network and a local newspaper, officials said yesterday.

Capt. Ma. Rowena Muyuela, spokesperson for Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), expressed the belief the intelligence community has a copy of a picture that shows Stefan Viktor Okonek, 74, and Henrite Dielen, 42, sitting and holding a German flag with about 10 masked gunmen beside them.

Officials said the picture might be proof that the German hostages are still alive.

Muyuela said government troops have been pursuing the Abu Sayyaf to rescue the hostages, including Okonek and Dielen, who were reported missing during a vacation off Palawan.

Muyuela declined to give more details about the picture, noting it might jeopardize the rescue of the hostages.

“We can only say in general that efforts are ongoing to rescue the victims,” Muyuela said.

Senior Superintendent Abraham Orbita, Sulu provincial police director, confirmed that the bandits held the Germans in the province. He said there is an ongoing operation to locate them.

The kidnapping of Okonek and Dielen was initially confirmed by Octavio Dinampo, a professor of Mindanao State University.

Dinampo, also a former Abu hostage, said earlier the Germans arrived in Barangay Buhanginan in Patikul town with their captors led by Jihad Susukan, alias Iddang, sometime in April.

He said the captives were brought to the group of Abu Sayyaf leader Radullan Sahiron.

ABU SAYYAF

BARANGAY BUHANGINAN

HENRITE DIELEN

JIHAD SUSUKAN

MINDANAO STATE UNIVERSITY

MUYUELA

OCTAVIO DINAMPO

OKONEK AND DIELEN

RADULLAN SAHIRON

ROWENA MUYUELA

SENIOR SUPERINTENDENT ABRAHAM ORBITA

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