2 More Agusan Hostages Freed

Manila Bulletin, December 12, 2009 | Go to article overview

2 More Agusan Hostages Freed


BUTUAN CITY – Two more hostages were released on Saturday by the Undoy Perez Group as negotiations to end the crisis continue.The two hostages were released at Kilometer 15, north of Purok 5, New Maasin, Barangay San Martin, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, due to health and personal reasons.The freed hostages were received by the Local Crisis Management Committee (LCMC) negotiating team headed by Jesefina Bajade, Agusan del Sur Provincial Social Welfare and Development (PSWD) officer. Their identities were temporarily withheld pending debriefing and medical check-up.At least 46 more hostages are still in the hands of the hostage-takers.On the third day of negotiations last Saturday, Bajade and her group brought along with them several food stuff and medicines for the hostages.However, mediamen were barred from covering the negotiations.The hostage-takers are demanding that they will only release the remaining 46 hostages if the murder cases filed against them be withdrawn and arrest warrants issued against them be quashed.Despite this, security officials ruled out the conduct of rescue operation for now, saying there is an indication that the crisis would be resolved peacefully.But Senior Superintendent Nestor Fajura, chief of operations of the CARAGA Police, said they will have no option but to launch the rescue operation if the gunmen would dare harm the 47 remaining hostages under their clutches.“A rescue plan is an SOP (standard operating procedure) for us, we are ready for that, but the conduct of rescue operation will be the last option,” said Fajura in a phone interview.Undo Perez and some of his group members – who are facing murder charges filed by a certain “Jun Tubay, member of a rival clan, sometime last year at a local court there – want the charges dropped and the warrants of arrest nullified before releasing the remaining hostages. …

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