Philippine authorities say gunmen have freed 13 hostages kidnapped by gunmen who were seeking the release of fellow tribesmen jailed for a similar abduction two years ago.
The officials say the hostages — 11 teachers, one student, and a driver — were found unharmed Wednesday. Security forces are now searching for the kidnappers. The government had initially believed there were only 12 hostages.
The gunmen abducted their hostages Friday afternoon during a graduation ceremony in Agusan del Sur province on Mindanao island. They demanded police free Manobo tribal leader Ondo Perez and three other tribesmen who have been jailed since taking several dozen people hostage in December 2009.
Police said two of the leaders in Friday’s attack are relatives of Perez. They also said Perez helped negotiators resolve the standoff.
Tuesday in Zamboanga Sibugay province, four armed gunmen boarded a bus and shot to death a security guard, then an army officer attempting to pull out his gun, and then the officer’s wife. A local military official said the couple’s son escaped by jumping out the window of the vehicle.