ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/22 July) – The Abu Sayyaf bandits have freed the 67-year-old Filipino-Chinese businessman kidnapped almost three months ago in the province of Sulu, a military official announced today.
Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) spokesman, said the victim, Nelson Lim, was freed around 9:30 p.m. Thursday to Jolo Vice Mayor Edsir Tan.
Cabangbang said no other information concerning the release of Lim is available, especially whether or not ransom was paid, except that Lim’s release was also confirmed by his relatives.
Lim, who owns the Times Hardware and Plaza Panciteria in Jolo, was kidnapped in Sitio Lambayong, Barangay Bus-bus, Jolo town, in the afternoon of April 29.
The Plaza Panciteria is one of the oldest and popular restaurants in Jolo.
Lim was walking heading for his home when seven Abu Sayyaf bandits blocked his path and at gunpoint dragged him to a getaway vehicle, an L-300 Mitsubishi van, that sped towards Barangay Sandah, Patikul municipality.
The pursuing government troops have recovered the getaway vehicle which was abandoned by the Abu Sayyaf bandits.
Cabangbang disclosed that one of the seven gunmen was identified as Asman Sawadjaan, one of the mid-level Abu Sayyaf leaders in Sulu.
The release of Lim has brought down to one the number of Filipino-Chinese in captivity by the Abu Sayyaf bandits here in the Western Mindanao area.
The remaining Filipino-Chinese captive is Largio Tam delos Santos, who owns the Farmland Resort and the Font Restaurant in Isabela City, the capital of Basilan province.
The Abu Sayyaf bandits led by Nurhassan Jamiri seized Delos Santos last December 16 while the victim was at his resort in Barangay Lanote in Isabela.
The Abu Sayyaf bandits have initially demanded P20 million ransom which was lowered to P5 million and lately to P1 million in exchange for the release of Delos Santos, who remains in captivity. (MindaNews)