ZAMBOANGA CITY: Abu Sayyaf militants have freed a midwife they kidnapped in the southern Philippine province of Sulu after nearly two weeks in captivity, officials said on Wednesday.
Officials said Lani Bernabe was released in the village of Danag in Patikul town, a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, following a negotiation headed by Sulu provincial board member Ismun Suhuri. It was unknown if ransom was paid to the kidnappers.
Capt. Maria Rowena Muyuela, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command, said Bernabe, who works at the Luuk District Hospital, flagged down a passing jeep that brought her to Jolo town where she was reunited with her family.
Muyuela has tagged Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Arod Wahing as behind the kidnapping. Bernabe was on her way to the hospital when she was seized by a group of men in the village called Libug Kabaw near Panglima Estino town.
“Continuing efforts have been made by the military and police on intensifying the conduct of law enforcement operations to seize and capture lawless groups responsible for the series of kidnappings in the regions of Mindanao,” she said.
Authorities have largely blamed the Abu Sayyaf for the spate of attacks and killings and ransom kidnappings in southern Philippines. AL JACINTO