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Philippine militants free female hostage

world Updated: Jun 08, 2009 07:57 IST

AFP
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Islamic militants on Sunday freed a Filipina hostage after more than four months in captivity in the southern Philippines, police said.

Leah Patris, an employee of a local micro-finance company, was recovered near Sumisip town in Basilan island, a provincial police chief said.

Senior Superintendent Salik Macapantar said pursuit operations by police and military forces pressured the gunmen into leaving her behind.

The woman, whose age has not been divulged, was then taken to a Marine base on the island, where she was undergoing medical evaluation before being reunited with her family, Macapantar said. She was seized by militants with known links to the Abu Sayyaf group on February 3.

The Abu Sayyaf is blamed for the country's worst terrorist attacks, including bombings and high-profile kidnappings. It is on the US government's list of wanted foreign terrorist organisations.

The female's release came four days after Abu Sayyaf militants also on Basilan island freed Sri Lankan peace activist Umar Jaleel, who was seized the same month as the Filipina.

Abu Sayyaf are still holding Eugenio Vagni, a 62-year-old Italian Red Cross worker kidnapped on the nearby island of Jolo in January.