By AARON B. RECUENCO
Philippines – The son of a gold mining firm owner and two others were freed by their communist rebel captors three days after they were abducted and turned into human shield in Agusan del Sur.
A military source, however, said that the freedom of Christopher Ocite, Joel Jayuma and Ganny Alatuya did not come without a price as the mining firm allegedly paid several firearms in exchange for their release.
The source said the guns were already given to the rebels led by Commander Friday on Thursday, the day when at least 30 rebels stormed the VPO Mining Enterprise in Barangay Bayugan, Agusan del Sur on Thursday.
It was recalled that after the rebels laid siege on the mining site, they took hostage Ocite who is the son of the owner of the firm and is the operations manager, and two others and demanded several firearms to secure their release.
The source said among those given were five shotguns, nine .45 pistols, an M14 rifle, an AK-2000, and a homemade M203 grenade launcher.
Supt. Martin Gamba, spokesman of the CARAGA regional police said, the three were freed at around 8 p.m. on Saturday.
“They were fetched at Road 151, Junction 1K, Barangay Bayugan 3 in Rosario, also in Agusan del Sur,“ said Gamba.
It took three days before the three victims were freed as the rebels could not move freely due to the presence of police and military troops in Rosario town and nearby areas.
The rebels even went to the extent of demanding the withdrawal of police and military troops for them to free the victims.
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- jct mining - agusan del sur (1)