Troops rescue nine road workers seized by Abus PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 September 2015 14:22

By RICHARD FALCATAN

Philippine Marines and Army troops rescued nine road construction workers six hours after they were abducted Monday by Abu Sayyaf gunmen in the province of Basilan, one of the militant group’s strongholds, official said.

Col Rolando Joselito D. Bautista, commander of of the military’s joint task group in Basilan, said the Abu Sayyaf abductors were forced to release the nine workers when marines and army soldiers closed in on them around 4:40 p.m. Monday in the remote village of Kaumpamatsaken, Sumisip town, some 46 kilometers from the capital city of Isabela.

The nine Muslim workers belonging to MACE construction firm undertaking a road project in Sumisip were seized around 9.20 a.m. in the remote village of Benembengan, Sumisip.

The Abu Sayyaf gunmen ordered the men to alight from a government truck and then led them off at gunpoint through the surrounding jungle.

Bautista said Marines and army troops belonging to the joint task group went on hot pursuit operation immediately after the abduction and found the truck abandoned and torched by the militant group in Kaumpamatsaken. Pushed further into the jungle, the soldiers found the nine workers.

He said the Abu Sayyaf militants led  by sub commander Juhaibel Alamsirul alias Abu Kik were pressured and forced to leave the kidnap victims to avoid being trapped by hundreds of pursuing troops.

Bautista said the workers were brought to the headquarters of the Army’s 64th Infantry Battalion for medical check up and debriefing prior to their release.

“Our soldiers shall assist victims in going back to their respective homes just to ensure their safety from the Abu Sayyaf, Col Bautista said.

Basilan is the birthplace of Abu Sayyaf founder Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani - a former teacher, who studied theology and Arabic Studies in Libya, Syria and Saudi Arabia during the 1980s - who was killed in a gunbattle with police Dec. 18, 1998.

Upon his death his brother, Khadaffy Janjalani took control of the organization.