Abu Sayyaf frees kidnapped Mayor

MANILA, Philippines (AP) – Abu Sayyaf militants, pressured by constant military and police assaults, have freed a town mayor after six months of jungle captivity in the southern Philippines, a military official said Tuesday.

Muslim religious leaders brought Mayor Gemma Adana to the house of Governor Abdusakur Tan in Indanan town in Sulu province, where the Abu Sayyaf has detained many of its kidnapping victims for years. Tan notified the military about her release, army Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado said.

Adana was taken to a hospital for a checkup before being flown home, he said.

In April, gunmen grabbed Adana from her house in Naga town in Zamboanga Sibugay province, which is also in the south, and took her to Sulu by boat. It was not known if they demanded a ransom in exchange for her release as they have for other hostages.

Abu Sayyaf militants have resorted to kidnappings for ransom, extortion and other acts of banditry to survive. They still hold a number of hostages, including a Dutch bird watcher seized more than three years ago, in their jungle bases in Sulu.

The militants have been suspected in the kidnappings of two Canadian tourists, a Norwegian and a Filipino woman from a marina on the southern resort island of Samal last month.

The United States and the Philippines have blacklisted the Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist organization.