Korean, Filipino hostages freed; gov’t maintains no ransom paid
(Updated, 1:45 p.m.) Two hostages abducted by suspected extremist group Abu Sayyaf rebels were released on Saturday, peace process secretary Jesus Dureza announced.
Dureza announced the release of the two hostages as he presented them in a press conference in Davao City.
The hostages released were Korean captain Park Chul Hong and his Filipino crewman Glenn Alindaja.
Park and Alindaja were abducted on a south Korean cargo vessel by suspected Abu Sayyaf terrorists off Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, on October 2016.
BACKSTORY: Gunmen seize Pinoy crewman, Korean ship captain off Tawi-Tawi
The two hostages were turned over to Dureza in Jolo, Sulu by former Sulu governor Abdusakur Tan at around 7:40 am on Saturday.
Dureza immediately flew them to Davao City and arrived on Saturday afternoon at the city’s old airport.
He said Park was not feeling well while the Alindajao wanted to return to his hometown in Cebu.
But, the chief Philippine negotiator said “they have to undergo some trauma therapy.”
He said he wasn’t sure if the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf were the ones who released the hostages. But the Westerrn Mindanao Command said ASG has claimed the kidnapping.
Dureza denied reports that a ransom was paid in exchange of the two’s release.
“As far as the government is concerned we don’t get involved in any ransom payments at all,” he said.
“The government official policy is not to pay ransom. You know why? The more money you gave to them, the more it strengthens them, the more they are encouraged to continue that illegal trade,” he added. IDL
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