ZAMBOANGA CITY: Abu Sayyaf rebels have freed a three-year-old boy they abducted in March last year in Zamboanga del Sur, officials said.
Officials said the boy—kidnapped last March 31 in Pitogo town—was recovered by a Muslim villager who spotted him walking alone in the village of Buanza in Indanan town, Sulu over the weekend.
He was handed over to the military in the town and immediately brought to hospital for check up.
Authorities have contacted the boy’s family while a social worker took custody of the child in Jolo town.
The boy was reportedly kidnapped along with three-year-old Zynielle Jay Garban and their 17-year old nanny—Ledegie Tomarong—who were been freed in July last year. The rebels took the trio after failing to kidnap a bakery owner in Pitogo town. Zynielle was killed during a fire fight between policemen and the kidnappers.
The release of the boy also coincided with the capture of an Abu Sayyaf rebel, identified as Haber, in Indanan, which is one of five provinces under the restive Muslim autonomous region.
Haber, alias Abu Qudama, was allegedly involved in the kidnappings of 21 European holidaymakers in the posh Malaysian resort island of Sipadan in 2000.
Authorities have blamed the Abu Sayyaf for the spate of terrorism and kidnappings-for-ransom in southern Philippines. The rebels have also pledged allegiance with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.