By Priam F. Nepomuceno
MANILA, Dec. 8 (PNA) — Col. Jose Johriel Cenabre, 2nd Marine Brigade commander, on Sunday said that the safe recovery of the remaining 17 hostages in Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) hands has been always their priority.
"Since Day One (the time when the hostages were kidnapped), we always operate to rescue the remaining hostages," he added.
The victims are scattered in heavily-forested areas of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, intelligence reports said.
Cenabre expressed hope that military intelligence will eventually provide them with the information which will result in the safe recovery of hostages.
The 2nd Marine Brigade commander declined to give a timetable for the recovery of the remaining hostage as the latter is primarily based on getting accurate intelligence on the whereabouts of the captives
He also clarified that Jordanian journalist, Baker Atyani, as by the statement of the latter, escaped from the clutches of his ASG captors.
"Even Atyani himself said that he was able to (go) scotfree. I don't know any other term (better which tells of his escape)," Cenabre stressed.
Atyani was able to break free from ASG captivity last Thursday. He was recovered by elements of the Patikul police around 8:30 p.m. (PNA)