Philippines optimistic over early release of abducted Japanese

11:41, August 04, 2010      

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Philippine security forces said Wednesday they are optimistic about the early release of a Japanese man kidnapped by suspected Al-Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf militants in the restive south.

Marine Major General Benjamin Dolorfino, regional military commander, told Xinhua by phone they already found the hideout of those who kidnapped Toshio Ito, also known as Amer Katayama Mamaito.

Mamaito, 63, was forcibly taken by 10 armed men on July 16 in the village of Bangkilay in Pangutaran Island of Sulu. He has been living on the island since 2004 and is reportedly a treasure hunter.

"He is in good health condition. Our men on the ground are working for his release but I can't divulge the details to make sure that it would not affect our operation," he said.

In January last year, three international aid workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were kidnapped after inspecting a water and sanitation project at a jail in Sulu.

Eugenio Vagni, the Italian, and colleagues Andreas Notter of Switzerland and Mary Jean Lacaba of the Philippines, were released by their Abu Sayyaf captors separately.

The 380-strong Abu Sayyaf group, founded in the early 1990s by Islamic extremists, is notorious for kidnappings, bombings and even beheadings in southern Philippines over the past decade.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:秦唯(实习))

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