ZAMBOANGA CITY – Four Malaysian fishermen kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf bandits have been released.
Wong Teck Kang, 31; his brother Wong Teck Chii, 29; their cousin Johnny Lau Jung Hien, 21, and Wong Hung Sing, 34, have returned to Sandakan with an emissary yesterday morning.
The Malaysians were taken from their tugboat off Pulau Ligitan in Sabah on April 1 and brought to Sulu.
Senior Superintendent Wilfredo Cayat, Sulu police director, confirmed the release of the Malaysians on Tuesday night, but did not give details, saying the victims were not presented to them.
Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command, said intelligence personnel are checking the details surrounding the release of the victims.
“We have yet to confirm whether ransom was paid,” Tan said.
Malaysian and Filipino negotiators reportedly helped secure the release of the fishermen.
In Lanao del Norte, authorities rescued on Monday night four of six students seized in Linamon town on Saturday.
Operatives of the Iligan police, Armed Forces of the Philippines and National Bureau of Investigation were involved in the operations that led to the rescue of Juharo Gubat, Kevin Limpin, Hannah Yurong and Eloisa Lacson.
Senior Superintendent Edgar Daniel, Iligan City police director, said NBI agents tracked the location of the victims through the signals of their mobile phones.
The victims were in a vehicle on their way to Pagadian City when unidentified men took them.
Rescue operations for the two other captives – Berzon Rey Paeste and Cid Rick Jamias – are ongoing.
The victims are either students or former students of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology. – With Gerry Lee Gorit, Lino de la Cruz