Agusan hostages safely released – PNP

THE 12 remaining school officials and teachers held hostage by Manobo tribesmen in an upland village in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur were safely released Wednesday morning, April 6, a police official said.

PNP spokesman, Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr., said the hostages were freed or abandoned by their captors early dawn of Wednesday after sensing that combined police and military troops are preparing to mount a raid on their lair in Barangay La Purisima.

The PNP spokesman said that PNP chief, Director General Raul Bacalzo, along with several local officials in the area, fetched the hostages and are now escorting them back down to the town proper of Prosperidad town.

“All the remaining 12 hostages have been released unharmed at pababa na kami sa bayan ngayon.. the Crisis Management Committee had done its job,” Cruz said quoting a text message coming from General Bacalzo.

But, the hostage takers, led by Illad Perez and Toto Navarro, were able to escape even before troops arrived in the area, police reports said.

The school teachers and education offcials, previously reported, were seized by the heavily armed tribesman late Friday afternoon after the group stormed a makeshift school compound in the area.

The hostage takers earlier demanded for the release of their fellow tribesman, Ondo Perez and two others in exchange for the release of their hostage.

Perez, a former member government militiaman, was arrested in December 2009 after his group held hostage some 79 local residents who were eventually released following hours of tension filled negotiations. Anthony Vargas

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