Abu Sayyaf Frees Schoolteacher in Philippines South

Zamboanga City, the Philippines, 16 Dzulqa’dah 1437/19 August 2016 (MINA) – A schoolteacher seized by a Daesh-affiliated group notorious for beheading its victims has been released after three days of captivity in the Philippines’ troubled southern province of Sulu, Anadolu reported.

Western Mindanao military command spokesman Maj. Filemon Tan said in a statement Friday that 30-year-old Adrina Bongil, a teacher at a southern Philippines elementary school, was brought to the house of Patikul town Mayor Kabir Elias Hayudini.

“Troops of the Joint Task Force Sulu proceeded to the area to meet and conduct debriefing to the freed kidnap victim,” the army spokesman added.

There were no further details on her release, but Tan said no ransom was paid for her freedom.

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The teacher was seized in Patikul by men armed with assault rifles and pistols on Aug. 16.

Two of them were later identified as Kulot and Walton, who are followers of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Morasil Mujahirin, according to the military spokesman.

Tan said the army is also checking if the militant group was behind the kidnapping of a government employee, his wife and their seven-year-old son, seized in Payao town, Zamboanga Sibugay province earlier this month.

On Wednesday, the group released a video threatening to behead a Filipino hostage unless a ransom demand is paid by Aug. 24.

However, the military said the kidnapping of the man in the video — named as Patrick James Almodovar — has not been reported.

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Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf — armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles — has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortions in a self-determined fight for an independent province in the Philippines.

It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release.

It continues to hold a Norwegian, a Dutchman, three Malaysians, seven Filipinos, along with five Indonesians — although it has said it would execute the Indonesians Aug.15 if $5.4 million was not paid.

Two of the Indonesians — seven were originally kidnapped from a tug boat late June — have since been discovered in Sulu in the Muslim south after escaping their captors.

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The Abu Sayyaf is among two militant groups in the south who have pledged allegiance to Daesh, prompting fears during the stalling of a peace process between the government and the country’s biggest Moro group that it could make inroads in a region torn by decades of armed conflict.

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)