MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Two Filipino sisters kidnapped by Muslim extremists eight months ago escaped from their captors in the jungles of the southern Philippines. They told authorities they were kept in isolation in a hut on a meager diet.
Nadjoua and Linda Bansil were abducted by the brutal militant group Abu Sayyaf when they traveled to Jolo island, a militant stronghold, to make a video documentary about the lives of poor coffee farmers in the predominantly Muslim region.
Philippine marines found them before nightfall Thursday in Buhanginan village in the mountainous town of Patikul, clad in black Muslim dresses that exposed only their eyes. One of the women was fondly cradling a cat, marine Capt. Ryan Lacuesta said.
They were taken to a military trauma center in Jolo for a medical checkup, given a meal and then flown to southern Zamboanga city, where they were briefly presented to journalists. Regional military commander Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrerro did not allow the women to be interviewed, saying they were exhausted.
The Abu Sayyaf had demanded 50 million pesos ransom ($1.1 million) for the sisters' freedom, but Lacuesta said it was not clear if any money had changed hands. Constant military assaults and search operations put pressure the kidnappers to let go of their captives, he said.
Associated Press writer Teresa Cerojano contributed to this report.
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