ZAMBOANGA CITY: After private negotiations for her safe release in the southern Muslim province of Sulu, a public school teacher was freed on Thursday by her captors from the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
Edrina Manalas Bonsil was seized by five gunmen in Kanague village on August 16 while she was on her way to work in the town of Patikul.
The military’s Western Mindanao Command confirmed that Bonsil was released in the village of Danag in Patikul.
It said Bonsil, who teaches at Tuup Elementary School, was brought home by Mayor Kabir Hayudini to her residence in Anuling village.
The military did not say if ransom was paid to the Abu Sayyaf for the freedom of Bonsil but it had sent a team of soldiers to the teacher’s house to get information from her about her ordeal.
Hayudini did not issue any statement but his town is a known lair of ASG terrorists tagged as behind kidnappings in Sulu, one of five provinces under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
There was also no statement from the Department of Education in the autonomous region but the military said operations against the Abu Sayyaf are continuing in Sulu, where the jihadist group is still holding over a dozen foreign hostages abducted off Sabah in Malaysia.
Last month, the ASG also seized three people, including a pregnant woman, in a village in Patikul.
The victims—Shariff Julhasan Abirin, Levi Gonzales and his pregnant wife Daniela Taruc—were onboard a multi-cab when gunmen flagged down the vehicle in the village of Timpook and abducted them.
The gunmen threatened to behead Gonzales—who works as a technician for Globe Telecom—if their demand for P1-million ransom is not paid by the company.
There was no immediate statement from the telecom company.
President Rodrigo Duterte last week ordered troops to step up their anti-terrorism campaign, including operations against the Abu Sayyaf.