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Sulu kidnap victims rescued

Joint elements of the Anti-Kidnapping Group, the Sulu Provincial Police Office, and the Army’s 501st Brigade under the Joint Task Force Sulu successfully recovered two kidnap victims of the Abu Sayyaf Group during an operation in Patikul, Sulu.

Reyjim Rocabo, 41 and Roel Leones, 37 both from Tukuran, Zamboanga Del Sur were on board a motorcycle when intercepted and recovered by the government forces at around 5 p.m. Friday.

Both Rocabo and Leones said they were kept under the custody of a certain Ben Tatoo and Almujer Yadah during their captivity along with some other kidnap victims.

Rocabo and Leones are crewmen of the FB Ramona 2 who were forcibly taken by the ASG bandits along with two other crewmen December 20 of last year along Celebes sea.

The two other kidnap victims were identified as boat captain Noel Besconde and crew member Roy Ramos.

After close to four months in captivity, Besconde was beheaded last April 13 by the group of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Almujer Yadah at Sitio Pantay Minol, Brgy. Tanum, Patikul, Sulu.

On June 8, 2017, Ramos was recovered by government forces at Kandabaw, Brgy. Lagtoh, Talipao, Sulu after he was able to escape their captors in Patikul area two days before.

Brig. General Cirilito Sobejana said a total of 20 kidnap victims remain in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf. Of the 20, 16 are foreigners and 4 are Filipinos.

“The soldiers are very careful in their movements since it is believed that the Abu Syayaf Group is still carrying with them around six to seven kidnap victims,” said Sobejana. (Francis T. Wakefield)