Abu Sayyaf releases last DSWD staff abducted in Sulu

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: The Abu Sayyaf brigands have freed Tuesday night the last of the four government workers they have seized in the province of Sulu, a top police official said.

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Sulu police director Senior Supt. Abraham Orbita said the victim, Robert Saputalo, was freed around 10 p.m. Tuesday in Barangay Danag, Patikul town.

Orbita said Saputalo was recovered by policemen in Barangay Kagay in the nearby Talipao town.

Orbita said Saputalo was brought to the provincial headquarters and was later fetched by the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) for medical check-up.

Orbita said the brigands were forced to release Saputalo “due to the pressure of law enforcement operations by the security sector and the local government units.”

Saputalo was among the four staff of the Department of Social Welfare and Development-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DSWD-ARMM) seized by the Abu Sayyaf brigands last July 17 in Barangay Upper Sinumaan, Patikul.

The brigands seized them while they were conducting survey for the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in the area.

One of the four, Lerma Jurah, was freed last Friday in Barangay Danag, Patikul.

The other two, Agustino Sicangco and his wife, Nurhati, were released last Saturday in the same area.

The incident prompted DSWD Zamboanga Peninsula Director Zenaida Arevalo to advise her staff to take the necessary precautionary measures while going on field duty. PNA

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