MANILA, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- Philippine troops on Wednesday rescued a 64-year-old man who was abducted by gunmen in Zamboanga del Norte in the southern Philippines early this month, the military said.
Lieutenant Colonel Leon Onggao of the Army's 42nd Infantry Battalion said troops caught up with the Abu Sayyaf captors of Rex Triplitt in a village near Sirawai, a coastal town in Zamboanga del Norte, around 10:20 a.m. on Wednesday and rescued the victim safely after a brief gunbattle.
Major General Generoso Ponio, the commander of the Army's 1st Infantry Division based in the Zamboanga Peninsula, said troops tracked down the kidnappers and the victim through information provided by villagers. He said Triplitt escaped as the kidnappers fought with the troops.
Abu Sayyaf terrorists in camouflage uniforms abducted Triplitt, a resident of Piacan village near Sirawai town, on September 16 while he was heading home on a motorcycle with his wife and child.
The wife managed to escape with the child and sought the help of village officials who, in turn, informed the police.
The military said Triplitt, a Filipino farmer, may have been mistaken as a foreign national because of his family name.
The Abu Sayyaf Group, a loose band of about 200 militants, has carried out deadly bombings and a series of kidnappings in the remote and poor southern Philippine provinces of Sulu and Basilan.
The group, which has been terrorizing the Philippine southern region since the 1990s, preys on foreign tourists, businessmen, farmers, and fishermen not only from the Philippines but also from Indonesia and Malaysia. Enditem