A Filipino-American farmer from Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte, who was abducted earlier this month, was rescued by authorities on Wednesday.
Reports from the Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Division said that troops of the 42nd Infantry Battalion were able to engage the group holding 62-year-old Rex Susulan Triplitt at Barangay Pisa Itom in Sirawai town.
Triplitt was abducted by armed men wearing camouflage uniforms last September 16, while he and his wife were on board their motorcycle on their way home to Barangay Piacan in the same municipality.
The government side incurred no casualties from Wednesday’s firefight, while Triplitt is now undergoing medical check-up in a health center in Sirawai.
A press statement of the 1st ID quoted Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas, Commander of 102nd Infantry Brigade, as saying that operations will continue despite the accomplishment.
“We are happy to inform the public that our operating troops successfully rescued abducted farmer, Rex Triplitt at 10:30 in the morning today,” said Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., WestMinCom Commander.
“Based on the initial report from the ground, the five are members of the Sulu-based Daesh Inspired- Abu Sayyaf/kidnap for ransom group under Injam Yadah, a.k.a. Injam,” said Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas, 102nd Infantry Brigade Commander.
Triplitt was heading home onboard a motorcycle when he was abducted on September 16.
“Our troops were acting on information of the presence of five fully-armed men and one unarmed individual, believed to be Mr. Triplitt, in their community,” said Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio, JTF ZamPeLan Commander.
“When the five engaged with the operating troops, Mr. Triplitt found an opportunity to hide and ask for help,” Ponio added.
Vinluan stated that the intensified intelligence monitoring and the unwavering support of the concerned citizens led to the rescue of Triplitt.
“He is now being checked in a health center in Sirawai and we will facilitate his immediate evacuation for further medical check-up and debriefing thereafter,” Lt. Gen. Vinluan added.