ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines Abu Sayyaf bandits are still holding at least 13 captives in the jungles of Sulu, a military official said yesterday.
Col. Alan Arrojado, chief of the Joint Task Group Sulu (JTGS), confirmed the number following the release of teacher Russel Bagonoc last Sunday.
Arrojado said among these captives were foreign nationals, a municipal mayor of Zamboanga Sibugay, and local residents.
The foreigners were Elwold Horns of Holland, Thien Nyuk Fun of Malaysia, Bernard Then Ted Fen of Cambodia, Noui Hong Sung of Korea and Toshio Ito of Japan.
Horns, who has been in captivity since 2012, was seized along with his fellow birdwatcher Lorenzo Vinceguerra of Switzerland.
Vinceguerra managed to escape last December after he reportedly fought off his captors.
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Aside from the foreigners, the other captives are Mayor Gemma Adana of Naga town in Zamboanga Sibugay, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel Gringo Villaruz and Rod Pagaling, and village chairman Roberto Bulagao.
Bulagao and the PCG men were seized on an island off Dapitan City on May 4.