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ZAMBOANGA, Philippines – A Taiwanese tourist whose husband was reported killed by gunmen in a kidnapping at a Malaysian island resort has been found alive in the southern Philippines, local military said Friday, December 20.
Chang An Wei, 58, also known as Evelyn Chang, was found by Philippine marines at a village near Talipao, a town on the remote island of Jolo where Abu Sayyaf Islamic militants are known to operate, they said.
“She is in good condition,” local marine brigade commander Colonel Jose Cenabre told Agence France-Presse by telephone.
The woman was taken to a military hospital for a medical check-up in the town of Jolo, the capital of Jolo island, in Mindanao, about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) south of Manila, Cenabre added.
He said the identities of his kidnappers were unknown, though Abu Sayyaf gunmen who are known to carry out kidnappings operate in the area.
Press reports in Malaysia and Taiwan have said the woman and her husband were holidaying on Pom Pom island in Sabah state, which is near the Sulu island group that includes Jolo, when gunmen attacked on November 15.
The reports said the gunmen killed the husband and abducted the wife.
A Jordanian television reporter, Bakr Atyani, walked free from a Jolo jungle earlier this month, 18 months after he was abducted by the Islamist militants.
The Abu Sayyaf is a small Islamist movement that has been blamed for a string of terrorist attacks and kidnappings of foreigners in the Philippines.
It was founded with seed money from Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network to fight for an independent Islamic state, though it later turned into a criminal gang.
US Special Forces have been rotating through Jolo and other parts of the Mindanao for more than a decade to train local troops battling the group, which is on Washington’s list of “foreign terrorist organisations.”
Philippine authorities say Abu Sayyaf gunmen are believed still to hold a number of foreign as well as Filipino hostages in Jolo, including two European birdwatchers and a Japanese treasure hunter.
Dutchman Ewold Horn and Lorenzo Vinciguerra of Switzerland were abducted in the Tawi-Tawi island group near Jolo in February 2012, while Amer Mamaito Katayama of Japan was abducted on the island of Pangutaran near Jolo in July 2010. – Rappler.com