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Women police officers kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf freed

At least 12 militants killed during operations carried out by Philippine troops to secure the release of the two policewomen

Gulf News

Manila: Two women police officers kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf last month in Sulu have been released unharmed by their captors, reports reaching Manila said.

National Police Director-General Oscar Albayalde said Benierose Alvarez and Dinah Gumahad had been released to the custody of Sulu Governor Toto Tan around 10am on Wednesday.

It was unclear whether money changed hands to secure freedom for the two, but the Abu Sayyaf earlier demanded five million pesos (Dh350,638) as ransom for the two police officers.

The two, who were stationed at the Zamboanga City crime laboratory in Calarian, were riding a tricycle taxi on their way to Camp Teodulo Bautista in downtown, Jolo, Sulu when some 11 Abu Sayyaf men abducted them last April 29. They were kidnapped together with two other civilians, identified as Blas Jackosalim Ahamad, and Faizal Ahidji.

Ahamad and Ahidji were released last May 5, reportedly after 300,000 pesos (Dh21,038) ransom was paid for each of them.

Albayalde said he could not say whether ransom was paid for the release of Alvarez and Gumahad.

Rescue operations by the Armed Forces’ Task Force Sulu to secure the release of the two policewomen had resulted in the killing of 12 militants over the past several days.

Three soldiers had died is the same operations while 20 more were injured.

The government under President Rodrigo Duterte had launched a renewed campaign to root out the Abu Sayyaf which were responsible for a number of abductions in Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi as well as in the island of Sabah in Eastern Malaysia.

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