Filipino doctor rescued after being kidnapped by gunmen

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MANILA, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Philippine security forces have rescued a Filipino doctor who was abducted by several gunmen of the extremist group Abu Sayyaf in remote Sulu province in the southern Philippines last month, a military general said on Wednesday.

Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City, said troops found the victim in a village near Indanan town in Sulu province around 7:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday after he was freed.

Four gunmen seized the victim at around 7:00 p.m. local time on Feb. 4 inside his clinic in Jolo town.

Sobejana said the kidnappers had demanded 3 million pesos (roughly 58,813 U.S. dollars) ransom for the release. "We asked the victim's family but they said that no ransom was paid," he added.

Kidnapping for ransom is a main source of income for the Abu Sayyaf group. With the doctor's release, Sobejana said five victims were still in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf kidnappers.

Abu Sayyaf Group is considered the smallest but the most violent of the extremist groups in the southern Philippines. The group, which has an estimated 400 fighters, is active in the country's impoverished island provinces of Sulu and Basilan.

The group is responsible for the series of kidnappings, deadly bombings, ambushes of security personnel, public beheadings, assassinations, and extortion in the Mindanao region.

The group, which has been terrorizing the Philippine southern region since the 1990s, prey on foreign tourists, businessmen and fishermen and hide them in Philippine jungles or remote islands. Enditem

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