Intensified operations vs ASG continue

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Malacanang on Saturday said that with the release from captivity of the two German nationals held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), government security forces will continue its efforts “to stem the tide of criminality perpetrated by bandit elements.”

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“Kasunod ng pagligtas ng mga binihag na dalawang mamamayang Aleman, ipagpapatuloy ng mga puwersang pang-seguridad ang pagtugis at pagsabat sa mga grupong bandido,” said Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. in a statement.

“Inaalam pa ang mga detalye ng kanilang pagligtas. Walang pagbabago sa patakarang ‘no ransom’ ng pamahalaan,” he added.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Major Gen. Domingo Tutaan earlier said Dr. Stefan Viktor Okonek, 71, and Henrike Dielen, 55, were released by the Abu Sayyaf in Patikul at 8:50 p.m. Friday in Patikul, Sulu.

Tutaan said the two were made to undergo medical checkup in Zamboanga City before their flight to Manila.

The two German nationals arrived at Villamor Air Base at 6:45 a.m. Saturday and are now at the custody of the Embassy of Germany.

The German foreign ministry thanked the Philippine government for its close and trusting cooperation.

The two German nationals were seized by the ASG in April from a yacht off Palawan waters and were held in a remote island in Jolo, Sulu. PNA

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