New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) An Indian from Kerala, who was kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf militant group in the Philippines last year and was believed to have been killed, was set free recently, official sources said here Friday.
Biju Kolara Veetil, who was kidnapped June 2011 in southern Philippines, is now believed to be free and is no more in custody, sources said.
Veetil, who was abducted by the Abu Sayyaf group, was found free on the streets of Patikul town, according to Antonio Freyra, the police chief of Sulu province. Earlier, Freyera had told reporters that Veetil was killed by the militant group.
However, Veetil's wife Elena did not believe such reports and had maintained that her husband was safe in the custody of the Abu Sayyaf Group. Veetil's relatives had approached the external affairs ministry and Defence Minister A.K. Antony seeking their intervention.
It's not clear if any ransom was paid. The kidnappers had demanded about 300,000 pesos ($7,100) in ransom, but his family refused to pay.
The Abu Sayyaf Group, one of the most violent Islamic separatist groups operating in the southern Philippines, has been pitching for an independent Islamic state in western Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago in the Philippines.
The group is known for kidnapping foreign nationals and demanding a heavy ransom from them.