Abu Sayyaf cap­tives es­cape af­ter fake ran­som ruse fails

New Straits Times - - World -

MANILA: Three men kid­napped by mil­i­tants in the south­ern Philip­pines es­caped while their cap­tors prayed, dodg­ing bul­lets as they ran, po­lice said yes­ter­day af­ter a ruse us­ing fake ran­som money failed.

The fate of a fourth man who ran off in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion was un­clear.

The con­struc­tion work­ers were taken to the po­lice on Jolo is­land on Fri­day, four weeks af­ter be­ing ab­ducted by the Abu Sayyaf group, which is hold­ing more than a dozen other hostages, in­clud­ing sev­eral for­eign­ers, in re­mote jun­gles.

The gun­men had re­ceived cash for the hostages on Thurs­day, but re­fused to re­lease them af­ter re­al­is­ing the money was fake, said re­gional po­lice chief Reuben Sin­dac.

“While the ab­duc­tors per­formed their af­ter­noon prayer, the vic­tims took ad­van­tage and (ran) but they were chased and fired upon,” Sin­dac said.

He said a vil­lage of­fi­cial found three of the hostages near the Jolo town of Tali­pao on Fri­day, one with a gun­shot wound to the head that was not thought to be life-threat­en­ing.

The of­fi­cial brought them to the po­lice hours later.

The three told po­lice their fourth col­league had run in an­other di­rec­tion and it was un­clear if he had es­caped or been re­cap­tured by the mil­i­tants.

Sin­dac said he did not know who paid the fake ran­som money. The govern­ment does not pay ran­som, and the gun­men are known to ne­go­ti­ate with the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies or em­ploy­ers. AFP

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