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4 linemen of power cooperative in Basilan freed

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 09:53:00 07/11/2008

MANILA, Philippines — A Muslim religious leader or “ulama” convinced the captors of four linemen from an electric cooperative in the southern Basilan province to release them without ransom Thursday evening, the provincial police commander said Friday.

The ulama, identified as Hadji Ismael Turabin, and a negotiator appointed by the Basilan Electric Cooperative, a certain Alton Angeles, met with the kidnappers in an undisclosed location early Thursday evening, said Senior Superintendent Salik Macapantar.

Then at 8:30 p.m., brothers Emilberto and Alberto Singson, and brothers Paul and Ber-ian Herwig, were released in Magkawa village, Al-Barkah town, Macapantar said in a phone interview.

“The ulama convinced them to free the four. In the Muslim religion, the ulama wields much influence,” the police official said, adding, “Their demand for a P1 million ransom was not followed.”

The kidnappers, allegedly Abu Sayyaf bandits, had set a Friday deadline for the payment of P1 million or the hostages would be beheaded. The group was seized in Tuburan town last June 26.

Macapantar said the four were doing well and were returned to their families early Friday morning, after undergoing medical tests at a local hospital the night before.

Asked about pursuit operations against the abductors, Macapantar said: “That is what I and my counterpart in the Marines are studying, how to hit them.”

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Written by joelguinto

FriUTC2008-07-11T10:01:37+00:00UTC07bUTCFri, 11 Jul 2008 10:01:37 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am07

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