Kidnapped doctor rescued in Sulu

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 25) — A doctor is free after being held captive by the Abu Sayyaf group for more than a month, the military's Western Mindanao Command announced Wednesday.

The victim, identified as Daniel Moreno, was rescued in Indanan, Sulu ‪Tuesday night‬ amid military operations against the Abu Sayyaf, Wesmincom chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said.

Sobejana said members of the 1102nd Infantry Brigade encountered Abu Sayyaf fighters ‪at around 7:30 p.m.‬ He said government forces saw the armed men leave Moreno behind.

"'Yun ang nakikita naming dahilan kung bakit nila nirelease dahil nga sinundan sila nang sinundan ng tropa, considering the age and of course the health condition of the doctor siguro may kabagalan yung kanilang movement," Sobejana said.

[Translation: That is the reason we see for the release -- because they were chased by the troops, considering the age and health condition of the doctor, he might have been slowing down their movement.]

Moreno had a medical examination after his release and there was "no adverse report" on his health, Sobejana said, adding that the doctor also went through debriefing.

Meanwhile, five more kidnap victims remain with the Abu Sayyaf group, Sobejana said.

He said the group was asking for ₱3 million in exchange for Moreno's freedom, but stressed that no ransom was paid by the Moreno family.

"Although sabi nila there was a demand, that sila'y nagkukuhamahog na maghanap ng pera pero sabi nila hindi namin nabigay yung pera," Sobejana added.

[Translation: Although the Moreno family said there was a demand, and they were struggling to find money, they were never able to give it.]

Moreno was abducted by armed men from his clinic in Jolu, Sulu on February 4.