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PIA Press Release
2006/10/21

4 kidnapped Filipinos in Sulu released unharmed

Quezon City (21 October) -- FOUR workers of a US-funded road project escaped from their kidnappers in the southern island province of Sulu at midnight Thursday, nearly three days after they were abducted, security officials said.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's aide Jesus Dureza said they were now in military custody.

United States Assistance for International Development (USAID) workers Romeo Rivero, Isidro Amaranon, Larry Bautista, and Reynaldo Rubio, fled their safehouse while their guards were sleeping and went to "somewhere near" Parang town, said Chief Superintendent Joel Goltiao, ARMM regional police commander.

Police found the four "fatigued but unharmed" at the Parang town proper at around 6 a.m., Goltiao said.

Provincial army commander Colonel Reynaldo Sealana said troops continued to pursue their kidnappers.

Sealana also said that no ransom had been paid.

Quoting his conversation with Rubio, Goltiao said Bong Iskandal, a former Abu Sayyaf who was hired to secure the four, was behind the kidnapping.

The four were abducted Tuesday afternoon while inspecting a road construction project in Parang town.

The kidnappers were identified as local Muslims who were hired to guard the project.

The island is a stronghold of al Qaeda-linked militants, but there were no signs of their involvement in the kidnapping. (PIA) [top]

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