Abu Sayyaf frees 2 cops abducted in Sulu, source says

Roel Pareño - Philstar.com
Abu Sayyaf frees 2 cops abducted in Sulu, source says
Joint Task Force Sulu is headquartered in Busbus, Jolo
Joint Task Force Sulu Facebook page

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — The Abu Sayyaf has released two female police officers the bandit group had abducted in Patikul in late April.

A source said the Abu Sayyaf group freed PO1 Dinah Gumahad on Tuesday afternoon and PO2 Benierose Alvarez on Wednesday morning. Alvarez was released in Barangay Samak, Talipao town.

The source, who asked not to be named for lack of authority to make public statements, disclosed the victims were brought to the headquarters of Joint Task Force Sulu for medical checkup and debriefing.

JTFS officials have yet to respond to requests for confirmation or comment on the recovery of the abducted police officers. Operations to rescue 10 other hostages believed to be held by the same Abu Sayyaf group are underway.

The source could not say if ransom was paid for the release of Alvarez and Gumahad, who were abducted on April 29 along with companions Blas Jackosalim Ahamad and Faizal Ahidji at Barangay Liang, Patikul town. 

The Abu Sayyaf group earlier demanded P5 million ransom for the two cops and P300,000 each for Ahamad and Ahidji. The government has a standing policy against paying ransom.

The two police officers were assigned to Zamboanga City-headquartered Police Regional Office 9 and were in Patikul on a personal trip when they were kidnapped.
Three soldiers have been killed and 24 others have been wounded in three major encounters in Patikul during an operation to rescue the kidnapped cops.
The military said 11 Abu Sayyaf members were killed and several others werewounded in the encounters.

A security official said any information the recovered police officers can give will help security forces recover the remaining captives — a Dutch national, a Vietnamese, three Indonesians and five Filipinos.

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