Abu Sayyaf free policewomen hostages
Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - May 17, 2018 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines —Two policewomen kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf bandits in Patikul, Sulu on April 29 have been freed.

Police Officer 1 Dinah Gumahad was released at an undisclosed place on Tuesday afternoon while PO2 Benierose Alvarez was freed in Barangay Samak, Talipao town at around 10:25 a.m yesterday, according to a source in the military who refused to be identified, saying he was not authorized to make a public statement. 

The victims were reportedly brought to the headquarters of the Joint Task Force Sulu for medical checkup and debriefing. 

Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said Chief Superintendent Graciano Mijares of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao police informed him of the release of the captives.

Gumahad and Alvarez of the Zamboanga peninsula police were taken along with civilians Blas Jackosalim Ahamad and Faizal Ahidji in Barangay Liang. The victims reportedly went to Patikul to meet someone they befriended on social media.

It was not immediately known if ransom was paid. 

The Abu Sayyaf had earlier demanded P5 million in exchange for the release of the policewomen and P300,000 for the two civilians. 

At least three soldiers were killed and 24 others were wounded in encounters with the kidnappers in rescue operations last week. 

The military said 11 Abu Sayyaf members were also killed and several others were wounded in the encounters. 

The Abu Sayyaf is still holding a Dutch man, a Vietnamese, three Indonesians and five Filipinos.  – With Emmanuel Tupas

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