The Abu Sayyaf bandit group, chased by law enforcement authorities after it abducted two women police officers in Sulu, released their hostages Wednesday morning, Camp Crame said.
Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde said P02 Benierose Alvarez and P01 Dinah Gumahad, both assigned at the PNP Crime Laboratory office based in Calarian town in Zamboanga City, were set free by the ASG bandits at about 10 a.m.
The details of their walk to freedom after 18 days in captivity could not yet be ascertained except that the released hostages were on their way to the house of Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan.
The two, along with two Muslim companions Jakosalem Ahmad Blas and Faizal Ahidji, were on their way back to Jolo town from Quezon beach in Bunhaginan, Sulu when kidnapped last April 29.
Prior to their release, the bandits freed Ahidji while Jakosalem managed to escape from captivity.
Albayalde said the two cops were in good condition but they would still have to undergo medical treatment, debriefing and counseling.
“We have to determine what happened to them, whether they were hurt or not and who possibly abducted them,” Albayalde said.
“We still didn’t know what really paved the way for the release of the two hostages, but of course the negotiations and the assistance of local government units in Jolo, Sulu of course was of great help,” Albayalde said.
But Albayalde said the ongoing offensives by combined military and police forces forced the bandits to set free their captives.
He said they have yet to unravel who and what group really perpetrated the kidnapping although they have initially identified the suspects.
“We have a suspect group,” Albayalde said but stopped short of giving other details.