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Indian national kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf escapes

MANILA, Philippines—An Indian national, who was earlier reported to have been executed by Abu Sayyaf bandits, walked out of the jungles of Sulu before dawn on Friday alive and free more than a year after his kidnapping, a police official said.

Senior Supt. Antonio Freyra, Sulu police director, said Biju Kolara Veetil, 36, escaped from his captors in the hinterlands of Patikul, Sulu, after they fell asleep on Thursday night.

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“It’s Ramadan. Maybe they got tired after fasting and fell asleep. (Veetil) saw the opportunity and escaped,” Freyra said in an interview.

“He was never bound by ropes during his captivity and only three to six bandits guarded him. They were not with the main Abu Sayyaf group,” he added.

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Freyra said he asked Veetil and his Filipina wife if they paid any ransom but the couple denied it, saying they did not have money.

Veetil was abducted on June 22, 2011, while visiting his Filipino in-laws at Barangay Tempok, Patikul, Sulu.

“His kidnappers introduced themselves as policemen when they were not lawmen,” Freyra said.

Freyra said residents of Barangay Kadday Mampalam in Patikul saw the victim walking along a road between 3 a.m. to 4 a.m. on Friday.

Chief Supt. Mario Avenido, police director of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said Veetil is now under the custody of the Sulu provincial police office where he is undergoing medical checkup and debriefing.

The group is believed to be holding Australian, Malaysian and Japanese nationals in their jungle hideouts. With reports from Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao and AP

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TAGS: Abu Sayyaf, Kidnapping, Ramadan
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