Gov’t forces rescue kidnapped Fil-Am in Zambo Norte

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ZAMBOANGA CITY — Joint government forces successfully rescued the 64-year-old Filipino-American on Wednesday at around 10:30 in the morning after a gun battle with armed men believed to be members of the Abu Sayyaf Group in the hinterlands of Barangay Pisa Itom, Sirawai town, Zamboanga del Norte.

During the firefight, the armed men left Triplitt which resulted to his rescue.

Fil-Am Rex Triplitt was abducted by armed men believed to be members of the ASG on September 16, 2020 while his wife Celsa Maani managed to escape during the commotion.

The joint forces composed of AFP (42IB), PNP, LGU, NICA, MiLF, MNLF, and the community.

“Our troops relentlessly conducted pursuit operations to deny terrorists from leaving the Peninsula, we are preventing them from transporting the victim to Basilan or Sulu,” said Lt. Col. Leon Onggao Jr., commander of the 42nd Infantry Battalion, based in Barangay Dona Cecilia, Sirawai.

Triplitt was brought to the Army camp in Sirawai for medical examination and de-briefing.

Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas, commander of 102nd Infantry Brigade, thanked the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that maintain a presence in this province for providing assistance to the pursuing troops.

Nicolas said that Army troops and other units will continue to hunt the fleeing Abu Sayyaf bandits that broke into smaller groups to avoid detection.-Mabel Perez/Newsline.ph

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