Abu Sayyaf captives escape after fake ransom ruse fails
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