Families rescued from Abu Sayyaf finally home

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ZAMBOANGA CITY — The two families who were earlier abducted by the members of the Abu Sayyaf finally went home to Zamboanga del Norte, after they were rescued by troopers from the Philippine Marine.

The marine troops rescued on Tuesday evening,  couples Feliciano and Elsa Javier, both 28 years and their five-month-old son, Vincent; and couple Junior and Rica Javier, both 22 years and their five-year-old son, Val. Feliciano and Junior are brothers.

The two families were rescued in  Barangay Gata, Talipao, Sulu.

Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) information officer, said the Javiers were fetched from this city by Vice Mayor Jaime Felizarta of Sirawai town, Zamboanga del Norte.

After their rescue, the victims were transported to the headquarters of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) in Zamboanga City on Wednesday.

Besana said they were later turned over to Felizarta by Col. Hernani Songano, NFWM deputy commander for marine operations.

The victims worked as caretakers in a farm in Sitio Maasom, Barangay San Nicolas, owned by Valiente Felizarta, the municipal engineer of Sirawai, and a brother of the vice mayor.

They were abducted by a kidnap-for-ransom-group led by Jamilon Tukalan, alias Jamilon Wahab, from Felizarta’s farm on June 28 and were later handed over to the ASG.

Vice Mayor Felizarta said over local television that the Javiers had seen the other hostages, who are still in the hands of the ASG in Sulu. Among them were Jade Quimbo and Jose Duterte, who were separately kidnapped in Zamboanga del Norte last year.

Quimbo, son of Vice Mayor Eddie Quimbo of Labason, Zamboanga del Norte, was kidnapped in downtown Labason in September last year.

Duterte, 62, and his wife, Jessica, 52, were abducted in Barangay Sta. Maria, Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte in March last year. Jessica was released months later last year.

Felizarta said the Javiers will return to their work despite their abduction. –Bong Garcia/PNA

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