Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Filipino sisters free after 8 months captivity

21 February 2014, 11:42

Manila - Two Filipino sisters kidnapped by Muslim extremists eight months ago escaped their captors in the jungles of the southern Philippines and told authorities they were kept in isolation in a hut on a meagre diet.

Nadjoua and Linda Bansil were abducted by the brutal militant group Abu Sayyaf when they travelled to the restive Jolo island, the militant stronghold, for a video documentary about the lives and poor coffee farmers in the predominantly Muslim region.

Philippine marines found them before nightfall on Thursday in Buhanginan village in mountainous Patikul town, clad in black Muslim dresses that exposed only their eyes. They lost weight and one of the women was fondly cradling a cat, marine Captain Ryan Lacuesta said.

"They said that their captors often kept them in isolation in the mountain and the cat gave them company and pleasure," Lacuesta told The Associated Press by telephone from Jolo.

He quoted one of women as saying they had shared their food with the cat and joking that the pet they named Juanita was fatter than them. It wasn't clear how they acquired the cat.

He said that the women lost a lot of weight but were otherwise fine.


They were taken to a military trauma centre in Jolo for medical check-up, given their first meal then flown to southern Zamboanga city, where they were briefly presented to journalists.

Regional military commander Lieutenant General Rustico Guerrerro did not allow the women to be interviewed, saying they were exhausted.

A brother of the women, Mohammed, told reporters he'll accompany his sisters back home to their mother in Manila. He said he refrained from asking them details about their captivity until they recovered.

The Abu Sayyaf had demanded $1.1m in exchange for the sisters' freedom, but Lacuesta said it was not clear if money had changed hands. Constant military assaults and search operations put pressure the kidnappers to let go of their captives, he said.

The women said that their captors moved them often from one jungle encampment to another to avoid being tracked by government forces.

They were fed rice, dried fish and root crops and often were detained in a hut. When a marine patrol approached on Thursday, their young guards ran away and the women dashed to freedom, Lacuesta said.

The sisters were born in Algeria to an Algerian mother and a Filipino father but grew up in the Philippines, where they have produced independent films in recent years.

Abu Sayyaf militants still hold about a dozen hostages in the jungles of Sulu, including two European bird watchers who were kidnapped two years ago, Sulu military commander Colonel Jose Cenabre said.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...