Abu Sayyaf releases one of their hostages in S Philippines

15:38, July 14, 2011      

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Abu Sayyaf terrorists released one of their three hostages they kidnapped in May in the southern Philippine province of Zamboanga Sibugay, a military official said Thursday.

According to Maj. Harold Cabunoc, deputy spokesman for the Philippine Army, the 19-year old captive, Nico Sebastian, was released to local officials Wednesday night after a series of negotiations and military operations. Sebastian is now in the custody of Roderick Furigay, mayor of Lamitan city in Basilan province.

"They (Abu Sayyaf) were also pressured (into releasing the hostage) because of the continuing operations, we have dislodged them from their lair, and we even snatched one of their hostages, Engineer Virgilio Fernandez," Cabunoc said.

The Abu Sayyaf is still holding two more hostages in the province businessman Lario delos Santos who was snatched last December in Lamitan City and nine-year-old Randel Salania who was kidnapped in Zamboanga Sibugay last March.

Cabunoc is optimistic that the Abu Sayyaf will release the two remaining hostages because of the "intense combat and rescue operations" by the Special Operations Task Force Basilan.

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