ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/20 March) – Seventeen suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom group were transferred Friday from the Basilan provincial jail to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
Abdulhusin Atalad, Basilan provincial jail warden, said the transfer was in compliance with the Supreme Court’s Third Division order to detain them at Camp Bagong Diwa while their cases are being heard by the courts in Manila.
Atalad said the transfer order was issued last September yet but “they were transferred only today due to non-availability of transportation.”
He said they were ferried early Friday by a boat of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao from Basilan to this city.
He said the suspects boarded a C-130 “Hercules” aircraft around 9:30 a.m. at the Edwin Andrews Air Base and were flown to Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.
Ensign Chester Ian Ramos, Task Force Zambasulta information officer, said they provided security in transporting the detainees from the Basilan provincial jail to this city.
Ramos, meanwhile, added that kidnappers believed to be Abu Sayyaf members freed late Wednesday the Filipino-Chinese businesswoman they seized last month in Jolo, Sulu.
He said Hadja Dingkim Yap was freed around 10 p.m. in Patikul, Sulu and underwent initial medical checkup before she was reunited with her family.
Yap was taken by her family to this city from Jolo the next day for further medication.
An informant said Yap had lost weight and appeared to have several mosquito bites.
Ramos as well as Yap’s family refused to comment on whether or not ransom was paid in exchange for her release.
The victim was seized by six gunmen last February 15 just outside her residence in Barangay Chinese Pier, Jolo after she alighted from a tricycle.
Her husband, who opened the gate of their compound, tried to come to her rescue but one of the gunmen poked a gun at him. (MindaNews)