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6 kidnap victims rescued in Sulu

By Francis Wakefield

The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police have rescued six members of a family abducted by a kidnap-for-ransom group in Zamboanga del Norte last month.

The AFP Western Mindanao Command identified the victims as Feliciano, 30; Elsa, 30; Junior, 22; Javier, 22; Val, 22, and Vincent, six-months-old, all surnamed Javier.

The victims were abducted at their residence in Barangay San Nicolas, Sirawai by the group led by Jamilo Wahab last June 28.

They were rescued by the Marine Battalion Landing Team 3 led by Lt. Col. Ramil Holgado, under the Joint Task Force Sulu led by Brig. Gen. Devino Rey Pabayo, intelligence operatives of the Philippine Navy, and the PNP in remote Sitio Tibangaw, Barangay Gata, Talipao, Sulu at around 11 p.m. Tuesday.

The victims were taken to the district hospital in Luuk, Sulu for checkup and documentation.

“We are glad to hear this good news for the victims’ families. Right now, we await for the results of the investigation by the PNP and intelligence community to determine the real motive for the Javier family’s abduction,” AFP Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega said.

“I have also ordered for the sustained crackdown on all KFRGs, in support to the PNP, because it is our commitment to protect the people in our joint area of operations against these lawless elements,” Dela Vega added.

The victims have been turned over to Sirawai Vice Mayor Jaime Felizarta at the headquarters of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao in Zamboanga City in the presence of the PNP and other witnesses. (with reports from Nonoy E. Lacson)