Indon escapes from Sayyaf captors, is recovered by military

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    GOVERNMENT troops recovered an Indonesian kidnap victim in Indanan town in Sulu on Wednesday night, 24 days after he escaped from his Abu Sayyaf captors.

    Maj. Arvin Encinas, spokesman of the AFP’s Western Mindanao Command based in Zamboanga City, said the kidnap victim, Muhammad Farban, was in good condition when found by the troops.

    Encinas said Farban, a fisherman, was recovered by troops from the military’s Joint Task Force Sulu at around 6:45 p.m. in Barangay Bato-Bato based on information provided by local residents.

    “The residents reported the presence of the person who is new to the place and who cannot understand their dialect and tagalog. They suspected he is a kidnap victim so they reported it to our troops,” said Encinas.

    Encinas said troops went to the barangay, recovered Farban and “confirmed that the man was a kidnap victim” of the Abu Sayyaf. Farban underwent medical checkup and was determined to be “physically fit.”

    After questioning Farban, Encinas said the Indon managed to escape from his captors on Dec. 22 after a clash between government troops and Abu Sayyaf men in Panamao town, also in Sulu.

    Farban’s fellow fishermen, Marahudin Lunani and Samion Bin Maniue, were rescued shortly after the firefight that led to the death of one of the kidnappers and the wounding of a soldier.

    The three Indonesians were abducted by Abu Sayyaf men on Sept. 23 last year in Lahad Datu in Malaysia and later brought to Sulu, a known bailiwick area of the bandit group.

    “He got separated from the two (after the encounter), so it’s only now that we rescued him after how many weeks….He escaped (from his Abu Sayyaf captors) on Dec. 22,” said Encinas.

    “Since then, he has on survival mode because he cannot communicate with the locals…There are even times when he is not able to eat. When checked at the hospital (after his recovery), he is in good condition, physically fit,” he added.

    Encinas said the Abu Sayyaf no longer holds kidnap victims.

    “We are very pleased with this remarkable accomplishment of our Joint Task Force Sulu.

    Our ground troops have succeeded in rescuing all remaining captives of the Abu Sayyaf Group,” said Wesmincom chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana.