ZAMBOANGA CITY – The military has denied reports that Abu Sayyaf bandits kidnapped four Malaysians recently.
Reports have been circulating that the Malaysians were brought to Tawi-Tawi and transferred to Sulu, where seven other persons, including two foreigners, are being held.
“We heard about it, we had it validated and there was no such incident. Even the police who reported it could not confirm it,” said Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command.
Tan said they also checked with Malaysian authorities, and they denied a new kidnapping incident involving their citizens.
Malaysia and the Philippines intensified border patrol following the kidnapping of four Malaysian fishermen in April.
The captives were released on Tuesday last week and returned to Sandakan the following day.
Malaysian and Filipino negotiators reportedly helped secure the release of the fishermen.
2 students rescued
Meanwhile, two students of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, who were seized in Linamon, Lanao del Norte two weeks ago, have been rescued, an official of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said yesterday.
Abdul Jamal Dimaporo, NBI-Iligan agent-in-charge, said they coordinated with Moro Islamic Liberation Front leader Abdul Rahman Macapaar, alias Bravo, for the release of Cid Rick Jamias and Berzon Paeste.
“Bravo asked for three days to locate the kidnappers and to retrieve them,” Dimaporo said.
He said the victims looked tired, but were in good condition. The students were brought to the NBI office for debriefing before they were turned over to their respective families.
Authorities said no ransom was paid for the release of the captives.
The victims were among six students who were seized on their way to Pagadian City.
The four other students – Juharo Gubat, Kevin Limpib, Hannah Yurong and Eloisa Lacson – were released on June 6. – With Jaime Laude, Lino de la Cruz