INDONESIAN HOSTAGE RESCUED FROM ABU SAYYAF

Indonesian sailor Peter LierichZamboanga City, April 11, 2003 -- Government troops today rescued Indonesian hostage Pieter Llierich from Abu Sayyaf guerrillas on Jolo island. Llierich was one of four Indonesian sailors abducted by the Abu Sayyaf in June 2002.

He is undergoing a medical examination by military doctors but appears to be in good health, said Brigadier General Romeo Tolentino, deputy military chief for the southern Philippines.

Philippine Marines raided a hideout of the Muslim guerrilla group near the town of Patikul around noon following a civilian tip-off. The kidnappers scampered away without a fight, Tolentino told reporters.

Two of the other Indonesian hostages had escaped earlier.

The second of the two, Julkipli (eds: one name) told Philippine authorities that the fourth hostage, who he identified as Muntu Jacobos Winowatan, had died in captivity.

The Indonesians were seized off Basilan last year while piloting a coal barge destined for the Philippines.

Indonesian embassy spokesman Triyogo Jatmiko said the embassy was awaiting confirmation from the Philippine government on the fate of Winowatan.

"The terrorists are feeling the pinch of our operations," Philippines military chief of staff General Narciso Abaya told AFP.

"We are so happy that we are winning the war on terrorism."

Abaya said the government would continue to put pressure on the kidnappers to win the freedom of up to five Filipinos still in captivity on Jolo. (Al Jacinto PHNO Mindanao Bureau)


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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