Philippine police rescue midwife held by militants

AP News
Posted: Oct 06, 2011 7:36 AM
Philippine police rescue midwife held by militants

A government midwife kidnapped two months ago by al-Qaida-linked militants was rescued by Philippine police on Thursday, a day after a Chinese fish merchant was abducted on another southern island, officials said.

Police clashed briefly with Abu Sayyaf fighters who were holding Evangeline Taverisma on Jolo island, Sulu provincial police operations chief Amil Baanan said. The militants escaped and abandoned Taverisma, he said. Neither side suffered casualties.

The 55-year-old midwife was abducted Aug. 3 on her way home from a government clinic.

On Wednesday, armed men abducted a Chinese fish merchant in a village on Sitangkai, an island in the southernmost province of Tawi-Tawi close to the Malaysian border, and escaped on a speedboat, regional military spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang said.

Few details were available about the victim and there were no immediate suspects, Cabangbang said.

The Abu Sayyaf and pirates are known to operate in the area, about 680 miles (1,100 kilometers) south of Manila.

The Abu Sayyaf, which is listed by Washington as an al-Qaida-linked terrorist organization, has been blamed for deadly bombings, abductions and beheadings. It has been the target of a decade-long U.S.-backed Philippine military offensive on Jolo and the nearby island province of Basilan.