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Hostage Recalls 9-Months of Suffering

PHILIPPINES

MANILA, June 24 – “We were treated like dogs!”

These were the emotional words uttered by Filipino kidnap victim, Ms. Marites Flor hours after she was released by her Abu Sayyaf terrorist captors in Jolo, the island capital of Sulu, in southern Philippines on Friday (June 24).

Flor was held hostage for nine months in the jungles of Sulu before she was freed by the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf.

It may be recalled that Flor, together with two Canadians and one Norwegian were abducted at gunpoint by the Islamist terror group, which sneaked into the island resort of Samal, some 120 kilometers east of Sulu last September.

Flor’s release was facilitated through a successful negotiation President-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte pursued with the rebel group.

According to Flor, she was sleeping when an Abu Sayyaf woke her up early dawn Friday, telling her to dress. The next thing she knew, Abu Sayyaf had unlocked the chain on her feet.

Flor said that she and other hostages have their feet chained when they sleep to prevent them from escaping.

Between sobs, Flor related that Abu Sayyaf treated her and her co-hostages terribly, like dogs. Flor said were mistreated every time the Abu Sayyaf did not like their actions.

“We were kicked, punched, and slapped,” Flor said in her Pilipino language.

The terrorist group left Flor near the home of Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan II early in the morning on June 24.

Shortly after the resort visitors were abducted last year, Abu Sayyaf demanded 1.2 billion pesos (US$26 million) for their release or they would be beheaded. But the Philippine government stuck to its no-ransom policy. The Canadian government followed the same policy.

When no ransom was paid, the terror group beheaded the two Canadian hostages.

First to be executed was John Ridsdel last April. Robert Hall, another Canadian, was then beheaded earlier this month. Hall was also Flor's boyfriend.

There was no information on the fate of Norwegian hostage, Kjartan Sekkingstad.

Abu Sayyyaf is also holding at least ten other hostages.
 
Flor was brought to Joint Task Force Sulu of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at 12 noon today for medical check.

She was later brought to President-elect Duterte in Davao City in the southern Philippines, where the incoming leader waits to take over the reins of government from outgoing President Benigno Aquino III at 12 noon on June 30 in Malacanang Palace in Manila.

Meanwhile, the military has intensified its operations on the island of Sulu to pursue the Abu Sayyaf, who has made kidnapping their business.

During the past two decades, the terror group had beheaded a number of their hostages.

The Abu Sayyaf continued to thrive despite the killing of many of their leaders, including their founder Abdurajak Janjalani by government forces.

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