(UPDATE) Suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits released 9 captives known to belong to the Badjao tribe (sea gypsies) Friday night, June 21, local authorities in Talipao, Sulu confirmed on Saturday, June 22.
In a phone interview, Talipao police chief Police Maj. Napoleon Lango said their personnel were on foot patrol along Kahawa village when they spotted a group of 9 individuals walking on the same road.
The group approached the officers and identified themselves as Badjaos allegedly abducted by suspected Abu Sayyaf members off Sabah, Malaysia last June 18.
The victims said they were fishing off Lahat Datu in Malaysia when they were snatched by armed men on board 2 motorized pump boats.
Lango said the abductors released them as they do not have money to pay ransom.
He added that the victims were not hurt and in good health.
They were turned over to the Sulu Provincial Police Office for medical checkup and debriefing.
The victims reunited with their families in Zamboanga City on Wednesday afternoon, June 26. — With reports from Leizel Lacastesantos, ABS-CBN News