PHILIPPINE troops rescued a Filipino businessman of Swiss descent Wednesday as suspected Muslim guerrillas who abducted him two months ago were moving him to a coastal village in the country’s south, officials said.
Several guerrillas fled after they landed onshore in Labuan township in the outskirts of Zamboanga city with their ailing captive, Charlie Reith, and saw government forces approaching before dawn, regional military commander Lt. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino said.
Reith was taken to a military camp, where he was given porridge and checked by doctors. Navy men and army troops tried to track down his captors, some of whom escaped onboard two motor boats, Rear Adm. Alex Pama said.
Gunmen seized Reith, 72, from a beach resort in Zamboanga on April 4 and whisked him off onboard three outrigger boats. They also tried to kidnap his German friend, Karl Reichling, but he resisted and managed to get away.
Earlier, police tagged the Abu Sayyaf behind the kidnapping, while local military leaders said Moro Islamic Liberation Front sub-leader Malista Malanca and Abu Sayyaf leader Khair Mundos planned the kidnapping in Al-Barka, Basilan. Abductors supposedly carried out the kidnapping by disguising as policemen and threatening to arrest Reith over drug charges. (PIA-Bohol)