Abu Sayyaf free Zamboanga Sibugay mayor
Roel Pareño, Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - October 13, 2015 - 10:00am

ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY, Philippines – Abu Sayyaf bandits released yesterday morning Mayor Gemma Adana of Naga town, Zamboanga Sibugay who was kidnapped at her home six months ago, authorities said. 

Police and military security officials could not say if ransom was paid before Adana was released at around 6 a.m. in Indanan, Sulu, where she was recovered by civilians and local officials.

Six armed men seized Adana as she was having dinner at her home in Barangay Taytay Manubo, Naga on April 7.

Capt. Antonio Bulao, information officer of Joint Task Group Sulu, said local officials of Indanan  took custody of Adana and brought her to the house of Sulu Vice Gov. Abdusakur Tan in Barangay Asturias in Jolo.

The military said the mayor looked tired and haggard and had lost weight.

Officials of the Western Mindanao Command believe the bandits were forced to release the victim due to the intensified military operations in Sulu.

The Abu Sayyaf earlier demanded a P15-million ransom for Adana’s freedom.

A security official who requested anonymity said ransom could have been paid, but not the full amount the kidnappers demanded.

Another source revealed that Adana’s kidnappers were closely identified with a known warlord and politician based in Sulu.

“Ransom amounting to P8.5 million was paid for Adana’s release. The money was delivered by the mayor’s emissary to the warlord’s house in Jolo on Saturday,” the source said.

Navy Captain Roy Vincent Trinidad, deputy commander of the Joint Task Force Zambasulta, said the mayor was brought to the hospital in Camp Teodulfo Bautista for checkup and debriefing.

3 bandits captured

Marine soldiers captured three suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits in Indanan, Sulu yesterday morning.

Bulao said the militants were cornered in the vicinity of Bud Taran at around 6:30 a.m. by troops belonging to the 2nd Marine Brigade.

Bulao said the arrest came as the Marines were tracking down the militants released Adana.

But the military official could not immediately say if the three were among the militants behind Adana’s kidnapping.

He said the suspects were brought to Jolo for interrogation.

Politics eyed in mayor’s ambush

Meanwhile, authorities believe the ambush and killing of Mayor Randy Climaco of Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay, could be politically motivated. 

Zamboanga Sibugay Gov. Wilter Palma said Climaco has completed three terms as Tungawan mayor.

Climaco was killed while eight of his companions were wounded when their convoy of three vehicles was ambushed by unidentified gunmen on Monday afternoon in Barangay Cayamcam. 

Witnesses said the suspects, armed with M16 rifles, positioned on both sides of the road and fired at the convoy.

The ambush came hours after Climaco, Vice Mayor Abison Abduraup and mayoral candidate Carlnan Climaco filed their certificates of candidacy for the 2016 elections.

Palma said the mayor, a member of the Nacionalista Party, and Abduraup  would be running for vice mayor and councilor, respectively.

He ordered the police to conduct a deeper investigation into the case and vowed to deliver justice for the victims. 

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) considered Climaco’s slay as an election-related incident. – With Alexis Romero

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