THE Abu Sayyaf bandits have released six individuals, including a child, who were kidnapped last month in Sulu, a top military official announced Sunday, December 3.

Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said the victims were released around 2 p.m. Friday in the village of Latih in Patikul, Sulu.

Released were the following: Jessie Trinidad, 53; Marissa Trinidad, 54; Jimmy Trinidad, 21; Lucy Hapole, 21; Marciano Hapole, 14; and, Nelson Hapole, seven. All are residents of Sulu. They have undergone medical examination and debriefing.

Sobejana did not mention whether ransom was paid in exchange for the release of the hostages.

It was reported earlier that the Abu Sayyaf bandits had demanded P1 million. This was lowered to P700,000 and further to P350,000 since the victims’ families said they did not have the money.

“The 6 KVs (kidnap victims) are the poorest of the poor here in Sulu,” Sobejana described the victims.

The victims were seized by suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits wearing bonnet masks on November 14 from their village in Anuling, Patikul.

The bandits are allegedly followers of Roger Samlahon, who belong to the Ajang-Ajang group.

The bandits are still holding 11 hostages, based on the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) previous report that the Abu Sayyaf was holding a total of 17 hostages.

Seven of the 11 remaining hostages are foreigners - five Indonesians, one Vietnameseand one Dutch. Four are Filipinos.