Kidnapped doctor rescued from Abu Sayyaf in Sulu

JC Gotinga

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Kidnapped doctor rescued from Abu Sayyaf in Sulu
Army troops rescue Daniel Moreno, who was abducted in Jolo, Sulu, on February 4

MANILA, Philippines – A doctor earlier kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was rescued by Philippine Army troops on Tuesday night, March 24, in Indanan, Sulu.

A brief firefight between government troops and the ASG in Barangay Bangalan ended with the release of Daniel Moreno, who was abducted at his clinic in Jolo, Sulu, on February 4.

Intelligence tips from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police alerted the 11th Military Intelligence Battalion to the presence of the terror group’s members in the vicinity.

The 11th Military Battalion is supervised by the Army’s 1102nd Brigade.

At around 7:30 pm, Army troops began pursuing the ASG members led by Mundi Sawadjaan in the remote area, sparking a gun battle that lasted about 5 minutes.

Mundi Sawadjaan is the nephew of Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan who is known to be the leader of the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group in the Philippines.

“Due to overwhelming government forces in the operational area, the said rebel group was forced to release Moreno before hurriedly fleeing from the encounter site,” the Army said in its official statement.

Moreno’s rescuers immediately brought him to a hospital for a checkup, and he appears to be in good health, said AFP Western Mindanao Command chief Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana.

Moreno is a prominent internist physician and the owner of the Moreno Medical Clinic and Urgent Care facility in Jolo, the Army said.

The ASG has 5 known remaining hostages – Indonesian fishermen – and the military is still out to rescue them.

Army chief Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay commended the units involved for the successful operation.

“Through your commendable intelligence efforts, teamwork, and dedication, you are able to negate the enemy’s atrocities and save the innocent civilians from their violence,” Gapay said. –

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JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.