Kidnapped British trader, wife rescued in Sulu
British businessman Allan Hyrons and his wife Wilma rest at a military camp in Jolo, Sulu yesterday after they were rescued from their kidnappers in this handout photo.

Kidnapped British trader, wife rescued in Sulu

Roel Pareño, Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - November 26, 2019 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Soldiers rescued in Sulu yesterday a British businessman and his Filipino wife held captive by Abu Sayyaf bandits for almost two months. 

Allan Arthur Hyrons, 70, and his wife Wilma were rescued on Mt. Piahan at the border of Barangays Silangkan and Taha in Parang town at around 8:30 a.m., according to Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief. 

Sobejana said the couple were abandoned by their captors after a brief firefight with soldiers of the 2nd Special Forces under the 11th Infantry Division.

He said the couple, who were both in good physical condition, would be flown to Manila after routine medical examination.

The couple were snatched from their resort in Barangay Alindahaw, Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur on Oct. 4. The kidnappers reportedly demanded a ransom of P50 million.

Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said sustained military operations constricted the movement of the kidnappers.

“The captors were driven to a designated... area through the efforts of... the 11th Division, the concurrent integrator of military operations in Sulu,” Vinluan said.

Maj. Arvin John Encinas, Westmincom spokesman, said military operations since Friday led the troops to where the bandits were holding the couple.

11 Abus killed, wounded

Encinas said two Abu Sayyaf sub-leaders and four other bandits have been killed in the encounters.

He said five other Abu Sayyaf bandits and five soldiers were wounded.

Encinas said Sibih Pisih and Roger Sajih and their followers Saipal and Melvin, both surnamed Reny, and Taihal Sabtal were killed in the firefight in Indanan on Friday.

Pisih reportedly led the Abu Sayyaf before Radullan Sahiron and Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan took over as its sub-leaders.

Encinas said Pisih, who led kidnappings in the waters off Tawi-Tawi and Sabah, also had pending arrest warrants for the killing of 22 people in Talipao in 2014. 

Encinas said Talha Jumsah, alias Abu Talha, said to be the conduit of the Abu Sayyaf in the Islamic State for Iraq and Syria and an expert in bomb-making, was killed in the clash in Patikul, also on Friday.

A certain Jalaide was killed and five bandits were wounded in the clash in Sitio Itum, Barangay Kabuntakas, also in Patikul, on Saturday.

The wounded soldiers were brought to a miltary hospital at Camp Teodulfo Bautista in Barangay Busbus, Jolo for treatment.

The military said an M653 rifle, a Barret sniper rifle, three caliber .45 pistols, assorted magazines and ammunition and five cellular phones were recovered at the scene.

As of noon yesterday,  soldiers were pursuing the bandits in Parang and adjacent villages in  Indanan, Talipao and Maimbung.

‘Fantastic news’

The British government expressed its gratitude to Philippine authorities for the rescue of the couple.

“We welcome the rescue of Allan and Wilma Hyrons... We extend our gratitude to the government and authorities of the Philippines,” the British embassy said in a post on Twitter.

“Fantastic news. My sincerest thanks to all involved,”Ambassador Daniel Pruce said.

The military said  ground troops would now shift their efforts to rescuing three Indonesian fishermen seized off the coast of Lahad Datu in Sabah last September.

The kidnappers reportedly brought their victims to Sulu and demanded ransom of P30 million.

 –  With Helen Flores, John Unson, Lino de la Cruz

BRITISH BUSINESSMAN AND WIFE KIDNAP KIDNAPPING
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