Kidnapped Fil-Algerian sisters freed in Sulu

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/21 February) — After nearly eight months in captivity, Filipino-Algerian sisters Nadjoua and Linda Bansil were recovered Thursday afternoon from their Abu Sayyaf captors in Sulu through a rescue operation by the Marines and the Presidential Anti-Crime Organized Crime Commission, a military official said yesterday.

Joint Task Force Sulu commander Marine Col. Jose Johriel Cenabre said “the two kidnap victims were safely recovered in Sitio Kantatang, Buhanginan, Patikul, Sulu.”

After their rescue the sisters, both independent filmmakers who were kidnapped on 22 June 2013, were brought to the house of Sulu Vice Governor Abdusakur Tan where they were served decent meals.

Sulu Governor Abdusakur ‘Totoh’ Tan II said the rescue “was a joint effort of the provincial government, the PNP (Philippine National Police), and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines). It was just continuous pressure while maintaining a no-ransom policy.”

Later the Bansils were escorted to the Kampo Heneral Teodulfo Bautista in Busbus, Jolo for a medical examination and post-abduction stress and trauma treatment under tight security.

A military assault craft arrived in Jolo port last night to transport the Bansils to Zamboanga. They are expected to be flown to Manila today.

“This incident tells us that everybody is just vulnerable. Anybody’s safety could be at high risk not just from plain lawless elements but from those who may just be playing with the security of people,” said Jolo Councilor Charina Isahac.

On 22 June 2013, ten suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits seized the Bansil sisters in Patikul town while the two were on their way to Jolo to shoot footage for a film.

Meanwhile, two European bird watchers kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf two years ago have remained in the hands of their captors, also in Patikul.

Ewold Horn of Holland and Lorenzo Vinciguerra of Switzerland were abducted in Sitio Luuk-Luuk, Barangay Parangan, Panglima Sugala town in Tawi-Tawi on 1 February 2012.

There has been no word from the kidnappers about the fate of their captives. (Frencie Carreon/MindaNews)