By FRANCIS T. WAKEFIELD • NONOY E. LACSON
The intensified operations launched by combined troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Joint Task Force Sulu, Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams, and the police led to the immediate recovery of two kidnap victims, including the half-sister of Talipao, Sulu Mayor Nebukadnezar Tulawie, hours after they were seized on Wednesday.
The military said in a report that the kidnap victims – Tulawie’s half-sister Edelyn, 27, and her mother, Addang, 57 – were rescued at about 6 p.m. at the boundary of Barangay Sinumaan and Barangay Kagay in Talipao.
Edelyn and Addang were abducted 16 hours earlier at about 2:20 a.m. by 20 fully armed men, later identified as Abu Sayyaf Group members under Hatib Hajan Sawajaan, at their residence in Barangay Kandaga-Boundary Kuhaw, about five kilometers away from the town center of Talipao.
The armed men immediately withdrew towards Kamuntayan in Talipao, according to some members of the Tulawie household who witnessed the incident.
Authorities immediately mounted a rescue operation and received a report that the victims were sighted with their abductors at the boundary of Barangay Sinumaan and Barangay Kagay. They scoured the area and found the victims in a forest.
The Tulawies were taken to the residence of former Talipao Mayor Tambrin Tulawie and then to the Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Hospital in Jolo, Sulu for medical check-up and trauma debriefing.
“We recognize the efforts of the local government of Talipao headed by Mayor Tulawie and all members of the community who did their best to help in the rescue of Edelyn and Addang Tulawie. It is the peoples’ participation and their resolve against the kidnappers that forced the bandits to abandon the victims in the area where they kept them for several hours,” Brig. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said.
“This also signals that the people will no longer tolerate the banditry perpetrated by the ASG in their community,” he added.