An American who had been held captive by Abu Sayyaf rebels for nearly eight months was set free but there was confusion as to whether his freedom came as a result of government negotiations, or the use of force. Jeffrey Schilling, who was kidnapped in August 2000, is a free man. One source said Schilling was released following high-level negotiations between local government officials in Jolo and representatives of the Abu Sayyaf group. The source claimed Schilling was handed over by the group but none of the group’s infamous leaders was arrested. However, Brig-Gen Romeo Dominguez, who heads the military task force against the Abu Sayyaf, said Schilling was rescued following a successful military raid on the Abu Sayyaf camp in Luuk town, 55km south-west of Jolo. A fter two hours of fighting, Schilling was abandoned by his captors, headed by Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Sabaya. He was seen walking alone in the mountains of the picturesque town of Luuk, said Dominguez.
Other important events:
1815 Austria declares war on Joachim Murat, King of Naples, for occupying Rome.
1850 French troops restore Pope Pius IX and occupy Rome.
1911 French aviator Pierre Prier makes the first non-stop flight from London to Paris.
1945 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies at 63.
1955 The Salk vaccine for polio is declared safe and effective.
1956 Bandaranaike becomes Prime Minister of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).
1961 Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man to fly in space.
1980 President William Tolbert is killed in a military coup and a 28-year-old sergeant takes over as head of state of Liberia.
1981 The first voyage of the space shuttle Columbia begins. Captain Robert L. Crippen and John W. Young are on the flight.
1985 Senator Jake Garn of Utah becomes the first senator to fly in space.
1990 East German parliament names Lothar de Maiziere as prime minister.
1992 Euro Disneyland, a $4 billion theme park, opens in Marne-La-Vallee, France.
1993 Nato planes begin patrolling no-fly zone over Bosnia.
1999 Colombian rebels hijack a domestic flight and force the plane to land at a remote airstrip, where they kidnap the 46 passengers and crew.
2004 West Indies cricketer Brian Lara reclaims the highest score in Test cricket history and reached 400 not out against England in St John’s, Antigua.
2006 Death of Indian movie icon Rajkumar sparks violence in India.
2007 The six-square-kilometre Lulu Island, stretching from the Abu Dhabi breakwaters to Mina Zayed, opens to the public.
2008 Former Irish President Patrick Hillery dies at the age of 84.
2009 Six students from Rashid School for Boys make history as the first Emiratis to reach the Everest base camp.
2010 An Iranian and a Tajik face 25 years in jail after the Dubai Court of First Instance convicts them of collaboration in Chechen commander Sulim Yamadayev’s assassination.
2012 UAE recalls ambassador to Iran after Iranian president visit to the occupied UAE island of Abu Mousa.
2015 Hillary Rodham Clinton enters White House race to be first female president of US.